The Minority in Parliament has raised red flags over the $600 million loan agreement between the government of Ghana and the African Development Bank for the productivity enhancement of cocoa.
Government is seeking to use over 10 million dollars of the $600 million loan to gather a database of farmers and over 7 million for promotion of consumption of cocoa products.
Presenting the report on the facility, Chairman for the Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah argued that measures to be rolled out will soar Ghana’s production of cocoa to about a million tonnes annually.
Ranking member and Minority Spokesperson on Finance Cassiel Ato Forson accused the government of inflating costs of projects to be undertaken with the facility.
Ranking member for the Committee on Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs Eric Opoku cautioned that the government is over collateralizing the country’s cocoa adding the productivity improvement exercise can be undertaken using the usual COCOBOD syndicated loan and not a new facility as happened under the Mahama administration.
Engaging the media after proceedings Ato Forson attributed the inflated costs to moves by the government to secure funds for the 2020 campaign.
The former Deputy Finance Minister disclosed the minority will officially write to the lenders, African Development Bank to seek for review of the terms of the facility adding he won’t be part of any approval of the loan in its current state.
“…they (government) are going to spend 5 million dollars for the purposes of buying chocolate for school children and soldiers…where is our priority, our President has lost the way…all state institutions are messing up wasting public resources yet the President’s wife is involved, so how do you expect the president to act.
“But today the minority members are going to write officially to the lenders, protesting the use of proceeds on this 600 million and the structure of the loan agreement is not acceptable, it is an outlier and nobody should encourage this thing to happen in this Republic.
“I will be the first person to support anything that seeks to enhance cocoa productivity but the structure of this loan, I cannot be part of it.”
Approval of the loan agreement was consequently deferred by first deputy speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu even though the report was adopted amidst controversy.