$650m Cocoa Farmers’ cash diverted – Minority alleges

A total of 650 million dollars meant for Ghana’s cocoa sector have been diverted by government and put in investments, the minority in parliament has alleged.

The amount, which is the first tranche of a total of 1.3 billion-dollar cocoa syndicated loan secured for the 2018/19 crop year, was released and received by the government on October 6, 2018 but cocoa licenced buying companies are struggling to get money to pay farmers.

According to the minority, the amount “may be sitting in secured investments in a couple of banks earning interest whilst the ordinary cocoa farmer is suffering”.

A statement issued by Produce Buying Company (PBC) Limited on November 22, 2018 indicated that about 104 million cedis of cocoa taken-over receivables due licenced buying companies has not been paid.

Also, recent findings from the work of the Center for Socioeconomic Studies (CSS) revealed COCOBOD has either refused, neglected or failed to allocate funds to the Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) as mandated for cocoa purchases.

This, it said, has resulted in delayed payments to cocoa farmers, a situation it said was undermining the well-being of the farmer.

“The Minority is however very disappointed that the funds have not been used for the intended purpose but rather diverted into areas that will not benefit the cocoa farmer in anyway,” it said in a statement signed by Cassiel Ato Forson on Monday.

It is thus demanding that the Minister responsible for cocoa “immediately end the misapplication of the syndicated loan” and revert to the original purpose for its acquisition.

“The CEO of COCOBOD must also be compelled to do the right thing. All allocations due Licensed Buying Companies, especially, Produce Buying Company, must be released as soon as possible to ensure that our loyal cocoa farmers are paid on time,” the minority requested.

The minority said it will not relent in its efforts in ensuring that the welfare of the cocoa farmer is prioritized.

Source: 3news.com

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