The Majority and the Minority in Parliament on Tuesday November 5, engaged in a heated debate over the $600-million Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) loan facility meant to boost cocoa production.
While the majority believed the loan is good news to boost cocoa production, the Minority feared the loan would not be used for the purpose for which it is being procured.
Per the details of the facility, $5 million of it has been earmarked for the consumption of chocolate by schoolchildren.
Also, COCOBOD is billed to spend over $2.5 million on awareness creation about eating chocolate bars.
The Report on the loan which was laid before parliament by Chairman of the Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, invoked heated debate on the loan.
The Ranking Member of the Committee, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson questioned why the state would spend its meagre resources on such expenses which, in his view, does not inure to the benefit of the cocoa sector.
“My major concern is the fact that this amount will attract interest from day one and for the fact that some of these monies will be sitting down idle over the period.
Considering the fact that in times that you have funds sitting idle, there is a chance that one can misapply it, I do believe that this arrangement is not in the best interest of us.”
But Dr Mark Assibey Yeboah defended the allocation, nothing: “The trade finance facility is to enable COCOBOD obtain funds to finance cocoa productivity enhancement programmes, with the aim of increasing Ghana’s national output to an annual statistics of one million tonnes while also doubling average productivity.”
Ranking member on Food and Agriculture Committee, Mr.Eric Opoku accused the government of always looking for means to cheat cocoa farmers.
According to him, using over $5million to consume chocolate is a waste of resources, saying, such amount could have use to help improve cocoa production to benefit the nation.
The approval of the loan was deferred to Wednesday November 6, 2019.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba