Saturday, 17 March 2018

We can repay syndicated loan - COCOBOD assures

Image result for Ghana Cocoa Board

Adnan Adams Mohammed

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has debunked the fears of the consortium of banks that is lending to the Board to buy cocoa beans for the 2017/2018 crop season.

This comes after, news has circulated that, the Board is likely to have a cash shortage and thus, would find it difficult to repay the syndicated loan. 

A report by an international financial news netywork, Bloomberg, had suggested that the “Ghana Cocoa Board may struggle to fully pay back loans of US$1.3 billion as this season’s harvest will likely be smaller than first anticipated.

“While Ghana may not achieve its forecast for the season, it’s already selling cocoa at a loss after it chose not to lower prices for farmers even as global prices slumped by a third from July 2016 through the end of last year. The regulator is losing the equivalent of about $600 for every ton sold this season,” according to the Bloomberg report, which was republished by other news portals.

But, COCOBOD has clarified that, the media reports are ‘factually inaccurate.’

It explained that, “Basically, what we are saying is that contrary to what some have sought to suggest that COCOBOD will face difficulties in repaying the $1.3 billion facility we procured last year that is factually inaccurate and not supported by any information that is verifiable.”

COCOBOD further explained that, “because if you look at our cocoa purchases so far, we have done over 650,000 metric tons and then the season ends in September so if by March, we have been able to do 650,000 metric tons, then it means we are on course to meet our target in repaying the loans.”

COCOBOD’s production target for the 2017/2018 crop season is 850,000 metric tons, out of which the source said 650,000 has already been derived six months to the end of the crop season.

As at February, this year, COCOBOD had repaid the first tranche of the loan, saying “We are on course and we will repay our loan.”

“Even though the weather pattern was not favourable from the beginning of the year, which is the basis for panic among some industry analysts, the new management of COCOBOD, headed by Joseph Boahen Aidoo, had put in place new measures to shore up cocoa production,” the Board noted.

Also, the CEO has denied ever making such pronouncements that ‘Ghana may struggle to repay the loans’ as were attributed to him by the media.

“Any information out there which seeks to suggest that we will not be able to meet our target should be disregarded. Some have even sought to reference their statements to the Chief Executive; he has not made any such statement. He has not stated anything to the effect that we will not be able to meet our target,” the Board clarified.

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