Eric Opoku, ranking member of the Food and Agriculture Committee, has voiced concerns over the government’s intention to spend more than 300 million Ghanaian cedis on solar torch purchases.
Just before to the acceptance of a $800 million loan arrangement between the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and a group of banks and financial institutions, the issues were brought up during discussions on November 17. The goal of the loan is to pay for the purchase of cocoa beans in preparation for the 2023–2024 crop year.
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 expressed additional worries on the purported mishandling of COCOBOD, characterizing the existing state of affairs as “gasping for air.”
Opoku underlined that the minority would not have supported the loan arrangement if it weren’t for the hardships faced by cocoa producers.
Parliament has approved the $800 million loan arrangement in spite of these worries. The money will be used to buy around 47% of the anticipated 850,000 tons of cocoa beans from farmers via Licensed Buying Companies for the 2023–2024 cocoa season.