It has emerged that the Ghana Cocoa Board spent $20, 000 out of the $1.8 billion syndicated loan for the 2015/2016 crop season, for the renting of a venue for a signing ceremony.
Some members of the Minority caucus in Parliament today [Wednesday], raised concerns about the utilization of the syndicated loan proceeds for the 2015/2016 crop season.
An amount of $169,000 was also spent as legal fees among other expenditure. The loan has attracted an interest of $4.1 million from October 2015 to January 2016.
The amount of Ghc570 million for cocoa roads, Ghc380 million for fertilizers, the use of $20,000 for the renting of a venue for a signing ceremony, and $88,000 for legal fees, were aspects of the spreadsheet of COCOBOD that came up for discussion on the floor of the house.
The matters were raised during the debate for another approval of a $2 billion dollar trade finance facility for COCOBOD for the purchase of cocoa beans for the 2016/2017 crop season. New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Kwadaso and Minority Spokesperson on Cocoa Affairs, Dr. Afriyie Osei Akoto, said the monies requested by Cocobod for 2016, and that which was spent in 2015, are too high considering that several Ghanaian farmers still do not have access to inputs such as fertilizers which are smuggled to other African countries.
He said there was the need for the country to ensure value for money in approving such a huge budget Cocobod, which is far higher than the entire budget for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture. “Mr. Speaker to put it in context, the whole ministry of Food and Agriculture, their budget in this house is not even 500 million. So what we are saying is that, these expenditures are so huge. They are twice the allocation to the whole ministry so we need to interrogate these figures to make sure that we have value for money.
There are always these constant reports of smuggling of Ghana’s cocoa and fertilizers across the borders and within Ghana.” “Mr. Speaker, I will refer you to a speech by President Mahama in Tepa three years ago, when he himself admitted that Ghana’s fertilizers are finding their way as far as to Cameroun. I even knew of just Nigeria and our farmers are crying for fertilizers and they cannot get.”
Below is a breakdown of the utilization of the 2015/2016 syndicated loan proceeds as off May 17, 2016.
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