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Parliament approves $800m loan to finance cocoa purchases for 2023/2024 Crop Season

By primenewsghana
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Parliament on Friday, approved an $800 million loan facility to finance the purchase of cocoa for the 2023/2024 Crop Season. 

This is in accordance with Article 181 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

The Receivables-Backed Trade Finance Facility is between COCOBOD and a Consortium of Banks and Financial Institutions, with the Government of Ghana as Guarantor.

The House also approved a request for waiver of Stamp Duty amounting up to the Ghana Cedi equivalent of $4 million on the cocoa Syndicated Loan of $800 million.

The $800 million loan will be used to purchase about 47 percent of projected 850,000 tonnes of cocoa beans.

The facility will be drawn in two installments between November 2023 and February, 2024.

Mr Kwaku Agyeman Kwarteng, Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, in moving the Motion for the House to adopt and approve the report, noted that the loan financing agreement was necessary to enable COCOBOD to successfully finance the purchase of cocoa for the 2023/2024 Crop Season.

He said the request for the waiver amount of $4 million was in line with the provisions of the Stamp Duty Act, 2005 (Act 689) which requires that a Stamp Duty of 0.5 percent on the loan facility be paid as Stamp Duty.

The Committee’s report noted that the Domestic Tax Revenue Division (DTRD) of the Ghana Revenue Authority had upon the request of COCOBOD assessed the Stamp Duty on the Syndicated Amount of $800 pending approval.

He said the waiver was necessary to enable COCOBOD utilise the full amount of the Facility for cocoa purchases and related activities.

Mr Isaac Adongo, the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, seconding the motion, remarked that it was because of the fact that the loan facility would go directly to the poor cocoa farmer that the Minority would like to support its approval.

Mr Eric Opoku, the Ranking Member for Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs, said: “Mr Speaker, I am urging this House to approve the loan in the supreme interest of the farmers that we are representing. Mr Speaker, I am saying this because we are the representative of the people. We owe COCOBOD, it is for the people of Ghana.”

He, however, expressed his concern over the declining fortunes of COCOBOD and further urged the Government to put measures in place to turn the fortunes of the Company around.

Dr Cassiel Ato Baah Forson, the Minority Leader, in his contribution to the debate, noted that despite the fact that COCOBOD was under performing and that it had incurred a series of debts in recent years, his side of the House was supporting the approval of the Syndicated Loan Facility for the sake of the nation’s cocoa farmers.

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, the Majority Leader and Leader of Government Business, in his submission, urged the House to approve the Syndicated Loan Facility to enable COCOBOD to finance the purchasing of cocoa for the 2023/2024 Crop Season.

Mr Bryan Acheampong, the Minister of Food and Agriculture, in his contribution noted that COCOBOD was now back on track and that it was a profitable organisation.

He assured cocoa farmers of Government’s support for them to enable them continue to produce more cocoa for the country.

At the end of the debate, when Mr Andrew Amoako Asiamah, the Second Deputy Speaker, put motion to a voice vote, it was approved by the House.