And Runs Into GH¢2.48 billion Debt
Insiders, have discounted claims by Ghana Cocoa Board that it is having hard times and unable to pay Local Buying Companies, as a result of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.
COCOBOD, is having a hard time paying debt owed purchasing agents after the coronavirus pandemic slowed exports and sales, the Bloomberg reports, but insiders have said this is untrue, saying the institution has been exporting beans to Europe, suggesting that the US$1.3 billion syndicated loan, might have been mismanaged, hence the inability to pay local suppliers.
“It is not coronavirus, export shipments are going on as normal. What has shipment got to with purchases within a given season?
According to the insiders, “1.3billion USD was secured from syndicated banks to purchase 850,000 tons, we paid for approximately 450,000 tons, and the money is finished”.
The insider revealed that “additional funds were borrowed from BoG, and is part of the money used to pay for the 450,000 tons. LBCs have delivered in excess of 700,000 tons. As at now, debt owed the LBCs is over GH¢2.48bn, and not GH¢1.2 billion as reported in the media. This does not include outstanding commission to be paid to the LBCs”.
Purchasing agents typically secure beans from farmers and sell it to the regulator.
Spokesperson for COCOBOD, Fiifi Boafo, states that his outfit has recorded poor gains due to lockdown restrictions at destination ports.
According to Bloomberg, their sources familiar with the matter, said COCOBOD owes purchasing agents about GH ¢1.2 billion ($208 million).
Although, Mr Boafo, declined to comment on the outstanding amount, he said the monies were mostly owed to foreign-owned buying companies.
Ghana, has suffered a potential sales loss of $1 billion after prices declined from a high in February, the cocoa regulator said in April.
The losses may be worse due to plant disease and bad weather that has hit the crops.
Sales have begun to normalize and that should enable the regulator to pay the arrears, said Mr Boafo.
“I’m confident that we will pay all outstanding debts owed to the licensed buying companies in the coming weeks,” he said.
The Bloomberg news agency, had reported that Ghana’s cocoa regulator is struggling to pay purchasing agents for beans bought from farmers after the coronavirus pandemic slowed exports and curtailed sales.
Lockdown restrictions at destination ports have weighed on cocoa shipments from the world’s second-biggest producer in recent months, Ghana Cocoa Board spokesman Fiifi Boafo said by phone on Friday.
The arrears have mounted to about 1.2 billion cedis ($208 million), according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because they’re not allowed to speak publicly about the matter.
The monies were mostly owed to foreign-owned buying companies, he said. Purchasing agents typically secure beans from farmers in the interior for delivery at the regulator’s warehouses at two major ports.
The West African nation has suffered a potential sales loss of $1 billion after prices declined from a high in February, the cocoa regulator said in April. The losses will likely be exacerbated by lower-than-forecast production for a second straight year after plant disease and adverse weather ravaged crops.
Sales have begun to normalize and that should enable the regulator to pay the arrears, said Boafo. “I’m confident that we will pay all outstanding debts owed to the licensed buying companies in the coming weeks,” he said.