Opuni Grabs US$1.7 Billion For COCOBOD In Paris

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Farmers get Free Fertilizers & Mass Spraying

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ghana Cocoa Board, Dr. Stephen K Opuni yesterday in Paris – France, signed a US$1.7 billion syndicated loan.
The huge cash is meant for the purchase of cocoa beans from farmers during the 2014/2015 crop season.

The interest rate for the loan is 1.2 percent, and is said to be one of the cheapest in the world.

US$2 billion was expected, it is not yet clear what accounted for the US$300 million shortfall.

The Ghanaian Cedi is expected to see some significant stability and strength against major international currencies in the coming weeks with this money.

COCOBOD, had earlier announced that it would seek 1.8 billion dollars, this year, for its syndicated loan. However, Finance Minister, Seth
Tekper, later announced that this figure would be increased to 2 billion dollars.

Meanwhile, the COCOBOD, has started taken steps to have the loan settled with the Cocoa beans in time.

Before the agreement on the loan was signed, Dr. Opuni embarked upon, “Mass Cocoa Spraying” exercise in cocoa growing areas throughout the country to control pests and disease.

COCOBOD, has also started distributing free fertilizers to farmers across the country, all in an effort to increase yield from Ghana’s biggest foreign exchange earner.

Last year, COCOBOD signed a $1.2 billion syndicated loan from international banks for the 2013/14 cocoa crop purchases as against $1.5 billion for 2012/13.

The credit facility between COCOBOD and a consortium of international and local banks was led by French lender Societe General. The COCOBOD syndicated loan is used to purchase cocoa beans from farmers. Seth Tekper has said that the increase was due to COCOBOD’s increase in expenditure.

The Herald is informed that cocoa farmers in the Western, Brong Ahafo, Ashanti, Eastern, Central and Volta regions, are excited about the initiatives which obviously would see an increment in their yields, purchase price, as well as bonuses.

The exercise has already commenced, especially in Western Region.

The Board has meanwhile, put in checks and balances to prevent crooks hiding behind the institution to perpetuate crime against farmers by diverting the fertilizers, as well as the insecticides.

Insiders told “The Herald” that some officers, who have been implicated in one report or the other have been booted out of office, while others have been transferred from their comfort zones.

On smuggling of Ghana’s quality cocoa beans to neighbouring countries like Ivory Coast, the COCOBOD had put in place stringent measures to reduce the phenomenon.

The Board is also busily chasing and collecting huge debts owed it by cocoa beans buyers; both Ghanaians and foreigners.
Below is the list of the banks which granted the loan to COCOBOD;

1.ABN AMRO Bank N.V.
2.Bank of China Limited, London branch
3.Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd
4.Barclays Bank PLC
5.BHF-Bank Aktiengesellschaft
6.Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft, Luxembourg branch
7.Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen -Boerenleenbank B.A
8.Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank
9.Deutsche Bank AG
10.DZ Bank AG Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank, Frankfurt am Main
11.Ecobank
12.KfwIPEX-Bank GmbH
13.Ghana International Bank plc
14.Industrial and Commercial Bank of China
15.Intesa Sanpaolo S.p.A., Paris Branch
16.Mizuho Bank, Ltd
17.Natixis
18.Nedbank Limited (acting through its Nedbank Capital Division)
19.Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited
20.Société Générale
21.Société Générale Ghana Limited
22.Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
23.The Standard Bank of South Africa, Isle of Man Branch

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