The 2021 Auditor General’s Report has charged Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) to cut back on its increasing finance cost following the swelling indebtedness seen in the past years.
The report noted that COCOBOD has relatively huge loans portfolio totalling ¢12.301 billion as of the end of the 2019/2020 financial year.
“We urged management to deploy and implement effective plans and strategies that would lead to the reduction of the Board’s [COCOBOD] indebtedness within the medium to long term,” the report said.
However, the report identified that the absence of sustainable debt plans coupled with the lack of effective long-term cost control measures resulted in this state of affairs.
It further stated:” We also noted from our review that, the Board did not provide us any effective plans to reduce its debt burden into the future,” warning that the situation could lead to crippling of the cocoa industry.
Also, the report said: “we noted during our review of the 2019/2020 approved budget statement that, COCOBOD expended an amount of ¢230.70 milion on the principal repayment amount of a 10-year loan with Bank of Ghana (BoG) which was not included in the approved budget for 2019/2020 financial year. We advised Management to ensure that all the Board’s activities are adequately provided for in its estimates and ensure that it operates within its approved budget”.
(By Jonathan Adjei )