The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) is worried over a US$131million debt owed by local cocoa processing firms, and has vowed to retrieve all monies to help boost crop production.
Among the companies owing the Board are Cocoa Processing Company, West African Mills Company (WAMCO), Plot Enterprise, Afro Tropic, and Real Products.
Cocobod has over the years been supplying cocoa beans to local processing companies on credit at a discount of 20 percent, targetted at growing local businesses and creating employment.
Noah Kwesi Amenyah, Public Affairs Manager, Cocobod, told B&FT in an interview that: “We wish to direct all processing companies owing the Board to quickly put in measures that clear their indebtedness for smooth delivery of beans for their operations.
“The Cocobod has put in place arrangements to forestall the recurrence of such indebtedness by making it mandatory for local processing companies sourcing cocoa beans from Cocobod to provide bank guarantees.”
He explained that some of these local cocoa processing companies have not lived up to expectation and owe these huge monies.
“If you have monies locked up amounting to about US$131million, it is just proper that we collect it. It belongs to the state, so we need to redeem all cash.
“It is fair for Cocobod to ask those defaulting companies to as a matter of urgency pay up the monies to facilitate their operations.”
Mr. Amenyah added: “In spite of the fact that we want to encourage these processing companies to add value to cocoa, we want them to also meet their financial commitments; so we are asking them to put in an arrangement supported by their banks to pay the monies they owe, otherwise we cannot continue.”
He explained: “If you have money stuck somewhere because some processors are not willing or ready to pay, then it affects the extent to which we want to do this intervention.
“We are pursuing the companies to retrieve the monies so as to ensure cash flow in the company’s operations,” Mr. Amenyah stated.