The management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has hinted that the company’s operation may grind to a halt due to the non-payment of some $131 million debt owed it by some cocoa processing companies.
Cocoa Board is therefore threatening to cut supply of cocoa beans to these processing companies if they fail to honor their payment obligations.
The Director of Public Affairs at Ghana Cocoa Board Noah Amenyah told Citi News that the board has in the meantime initiated moves with these companies for alternative payment plans to avert any cut in supplies. “At the beginning of 2014, these companies had owed COCOBOD $210 million, so we put in place a system to collect the money. Some of them were able to pay the monies, but some five are still owing COCOBOD.”
“We are talking about $131 million, so COCOBOD had asked all the companies taking things from it to proceed with bank guarantees before the beans are given. Meanwhile, the companies are supposed to be paying on account so that we reestablish the relationship and give them beans to process. We think that we should bring this out as a way of asking them to make good their payment to allow the board to run smoothly.”
The companies he said are West African Mills Company, WAMCO, Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) and Real Commodities. The rest are Afrotropic and Plot enterprise.
Mr. Amenyah lamented that because some companies owe them, COCOBOD may not be able to execute programmes it had initiated.
“COCOBOD is undertaking a number of activities in the cocoa sector which includes building cocoa roads, free fertilizer to farmers, chemicals for pest and disease control, scholarships and other activities. So if we have such amount locked up somewhere it means that we cannot do it to the extent that we want to do,” he added.