Parliament approves $1.3bn loan for 2017/2018 cocoa purchase

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Parliament on Wednesday approved $ 1.3 billion, (GHc 5.8 billion) syndicated loan for the purchase of cocoa beans in the 2017/18 crop season as the Government plans to increase cocoa production within the next four years.

It is expected that more than one million tonnes per annum would be produced.

Dr Mark Asibey-Yeboah, Chairman of the Finance Committee, and MP for New Juaben South said the $ 1.3 billion trade finance facility was to assist COCOBOD to raise funds to purchase cocoa beans for farmers through the licensed buying companies.

In a committee report presented to the House before it adjourned sine die, Dr Assibey-Yeboah, said the facility was being provided by a syndicate of banks, comprising Natixis, Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Sumitomo Mitstui Banking Corporation and Ghana International Bank as the initial mandated lead arranger.

The Committee reminded the House of section 32 (6) of the Stamp Duty Act 2005 (Act 689) which required loan documents to be stamped at 0.5 per cent of the loan amount , in order to ensure that the trade finance facility was used solely for the purchase of cocoa beans and related expenses.

The House also okayed a loan of $ 48.85 million, which is an agreement between Ghana and the Africa Development Fund to finance the Accra Sustainable Sanitation and Livelihood Improvement Project (GASSLIP).

The agreement is a concessionary loan with a concessionary component of 35.97 per cent, which is slightly above the government concessionary requirement of 35 per cent.

The project is to support the efforts of the Government to increase access to adequate safe and affordable water, improved environmental sanitation and hygiene education.

The facility aims to ensure a favourable state of health for the people in the Greater Accra Metropolis.

The rationale of GASSLIP, according to the report, fits into the water and sanitation vision for sustainable water and basic sanitation for all by 2025.

“The project outcome further emphasises the enhancement of improved sanitary, environmental and social conditions through the desire to eliminate cholera outbreak, which in recent years have become nearly epidemic in the Metropolis.

The report was a product of joint work by the Finance and the Works and Housing Committees.

The House also approved the 2017 work programme of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation.

However, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation; and Ms Dela Sowah, MP for Kpando, on either sides of the House said $ 1.7 million for Logistics and Vehicles was rather on the higher side.

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