By Cecil MENSAH
To remedy the drudgery of farmers, COCOBOD has sourced a syndicated loan of 1.3 billion dollars from twenty-five banks to further boost the activities of Cocoa producers across the country.
The loan facility will support over eight hundred thousand farmers and tens of thousands in the ancillary cocoa industries which account for the 4.5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as 25 per cent of the country’s merchandize export earnings.
The money is a pre-export receivables-backed trade finance facility for Ghana’s cocoa sector for the 2017/2018 crop year.
The facility is going to assure Cocoa farmers of fair and prompt payment for the fruit of their labour as well as the development of the economy.
The annual Ghana Cocoa Board syndicated loan is the most prominent soft commodity trade finance arrangement in Africa and one of the biggest in the world.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Paris, France, which also happens to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of Ghana’s engagement in the world class soft commodity financing, Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Mr. Joseph Boahene Aidoo, said the confidence the international financial sector has in the Ghanaian cocoa sector stems from the board’s ability to repay the loan without default.
He revealed that the repayment interest on the loan is 0.6 per cent with liability which will start next year February and end by August.
He explained that each year the facility plus the medium term finances have been repaid in full either on or before maturity making the board’s repayment record a legendary.
“The repayment of 2016/2017 facility was scheduled to be completed by the end of August 2017.
“By spirited efforts in the face of dire market challenges, COCOBOD was able to finish the repayment before the end of July 2017 and not surprise the 2017/2018 facility was oversubscribed,” he noted.
He says Ghana has something to show the world from the past twenty-five years of cocoa financing. From the production figures of 255, 000 tonnes in 1992/1993, the country’ production figures have tripled he added.
He took the opportunity to express the Government of Ghana’s gratitude to all participating banks that have helped stay the course of the cocoa industry in the past two-and-a-half decades.
He commended the participating banks, namely the co-ordinated initial mandated lead arrangers: Robabank, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Natixis, Standard Bank, Sumitomo Mistui Banking Corporation and Ghana International Bank.
He urged them to see themselves as making a significant contribution towards improving the lives of many Ghanaians, the economy in general as well as supporting the Government of Ghana in its development efforts.
“In the last couple of years, it has been a feature of the consortium of banks in the syndication to make memorable live-improving contributions to the hardworking farmers as part of the bank’s Social Corporate Responsibilities (CSR).
He assured all the 25 banks involved in the syndication that it is fully committed to meeting its obligations under the agreement and will take steps to enhance assignments, collections and repayment processes associated with the facility.
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