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Business News of Sunday, 8 January 2017


Cocoa has seen improvement with our government - Terkper

Outgoing Finance Minister Seth Tekper has debunked claims by cocoa dealers about the dwindling profits on cocoa proceeds.

According to him, the cocoa sector is still profitable and will not deteriorate.

Cocoa yields for the 2016 crop season fell short of one million tonnes causing cocoa dealers to express severe reservations.

But speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show, Seth Terkper stressed the NDC government has laid down key measures to facilitate the constant revenue production of cocoa.

“Dollars had a significant effect on foreign exchange supply and the payment for the farmers themselves, stabilisation of the cedi; in terms of the Forex supply and various means including even the way the prices move up and down in terms of inflation and the rest. So cocoa to a large extent remains a very key fiscal and financial matter,” he said.

The Oxford Business Group and some cocoa farmers have also hinted of a possible decline in cocoa production due to the impact of illegal mining activities on cocoa plantations.

But speaking on the issue Mr Terkper maintained that the NDC government has addressed the issue.

“The issue of galamsey has been addressed. You know there is a lot of weed planting that is taking place including the youth in the cocoa sector instigated by COCOBOD. The youth are being urged to come into the cocoa sector to replace the ageing farmers.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Terkper has insisted that Ghana has enough money in the sinking fund to buy back some loans and manage debts rationally.

The minister who had earlier stated that the country had 300 million dollars in its sinking fund coffers could however not readily state the exact amount in an interview with Citi Business News’ Vivian Kai Lokko.

He, however, maintains there is enough money to refinance maturing debts and bonds.

“Incidentally we do not have all the numbers but I can assure you. I did mention the sinking fund. You know we have something called the buyback which we should be able to use to manage our debts more reasonably. You know some of that phenomenon also happens because we are going into the first quarter and the first quarter is often the month in which you cannot roll back the payment of wages.”

He added that “ It’s the awareness that there will be financing or back up by Bank of Ghana for the expenditure and that is what we need to focus on. That is one of the fiscal risks associated with the various financing phenomenon at the central bank. We should have a program, as we have with the sinking fund and other refinances to pay our debt and not just be rolling over.”