Ranking Member for Food and Agriculture Committee, Eric Opoku, has expressed reservations over the government’s decision to allocate over three hundred million Ghana cedis for the purchase of solar torchlight.
The concerns were raised during deliberations on November 17, just before the approval of an $800 million loan agreement between the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and a consortium of banks and financial institutions. The loan is intended to finance the procurement of cocoa beans for the upcoming 2023/2024 Crop Season.
Opoku questioned the government’s priorities, stating, “Mr. Speaker, government has provided in the 2024 budget that they are going to use over GH¢300 million Ghana cedis to purchase torchlight. Is that a priority at this time? At the time Government cannot even pay contractors.”
He further voiced concerns about the alleged mismanagement of COCOBOD, describing the current situation as “gasping for breath.”
Opoku emphasized that, were it not for the plight of cocoa farmers, the minority would not have approved the loan agreement.
Despite these concerns, Parliament has given its approval for the $800 million loan agreement, which will be utilized to purchase approximately 47 percent of the projected 850,000 tonnes of cocoa beans from farmers through Licensed Buying Companies for the 2023/2024 cocoa season.