The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) appears to have turned a blind eye on overdue debts owed them by some Licensed Buying Companies (LBCs) to the tune of a whopping Gh¢3,688,491.96 in 2010 0nly.
This figure was revealed in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament’s report based on the Auditor General’s audited report for the financial year ending 30th September 2010.
According to the PAC report which was signed by the Chairman and Clerk of the Committee, Mr. Kweku Agyemang Manu (Dormaa Central MP) and Abigail Aba Anso respectively, some licensed buying companies balances showed no movements during the 2010 fiscal year.
The Committee stated the names of the indebted licensed buying companies and the breakdown of their indebtedness totalling GHC 3,688,491.96 as shown below;
SUNCOM SEED FUND GHC 989,085.88
GHANA COCOA, COFFEE AND SHEABUTTER NIL
FARMERS ASSOCIATION GHC 2, 626,000.00
SUNSHINE COMMODITIES GHC 49,787.16
BIG FAT COMPANY GHC 23,618.92
TOTAL GHC 3,688,491.96
The committee indicated that the non recovery of debt owed to COCOBOD by management has the tendency to adversely impact the smooth running of the Board’s operations.
The committee therefore advised that the Management of COCOBOD should send reminder letters to the affected companies and actively pursue the recovery of the amount owed by them.
The committee also recommends that COCOBOD should put in place effective and adequate mechanisms to ensure the prompt recovery of debt on due dates.
Non Payment of Dividend to Government
On the same subject, the committee also observed that COCOBOD did not pay dividend into the consolidated Fund in year 2010 despite the fact that it made profit to the tune of GHC158, 570,319. It emerged that the last time COCOBOD Paid dividend into the consolidated Fund was during the 2003/2004 financial years.
Management of COCOBOD admitted that COCOBOD has for some time not been paying dividend into the consolidated fund because it applies most of its profit towards the construction of “cocoa roads” in the country and also towards investments to enhance the sustainability of the sector.
The construction of Cocoa roads is critical for development of the country. The committee therefore recommends that the finance committee of the house should take critical look at COCOBOD’S profit application policies, particularly the management of the cocoa roads programme to ensure efficiency, effectiveness and value for money.
Source: New Crusading Guide
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