JOHN MAHAMA VINDICATED AGAIN AND AGAIN ON COCOBOD-INCOMPETENT NPP WILL COLLAPSE IT

Today is the first day of April, and i hope Cocobod will tell us that buying keyboards for the ipads of board members at the cost of 4,500 cedis each is just an “April fool thing”. Ghana has never been bruised and looted this way before.

I recall His excellency John Mahama made a call on Cocobod to remunerate cocoa farmers adequately prior to opening the 2023/24 cocoa season, giving the high international price of $3600. As usual, the NPP’s communicators and their appointees at Cocobod spinned yet another propaganda targeted at the experience former president. In the light of this Cocobod sponsored a rebuttal publication in the daily graphic on 15th September 2023 titled “open letter to former President John Dramani Mahama” where they attempted to discredit the former president with unsubstantiated claim to blame “forward sales” and other price projections which turned out to be false anyway. Apart from the genuine concern of the welfare of farmers, the former president John Mahama’s call also hinged on the foreseeable smuggling of cocoa to neighbouring countries due to lower cocoa prices being offered to Ghanaian farmers.

I also recall NDC’s national communication officer, Sammy Gyamfi, battling out the NPP’s falsehoods and the twisting of fact being churned out by Cocobod officials during the period. He mounted a spirited defence of John Mahama’s warnings, among other things that the low farmer prices were likely to affect the morale of farmers give out their lands for galamsey operators and accept higher prices from smugglers. Today, the very same galamsey and smuggling are being blamed from Ghana’s historic low cocoa output. In fact, reputable industry players are estimating the quantity of cocoa smuggled out of Ghana as 180,000 to 250,000 metric tonnes. For the current world market price of $10,000 per tonne, this means Ghana has potentially lost $1.8 billion to $2.5 billion dollars to smuggling. CAN YOU IMAGINE WHAT THAT MONEY CAN DO FOR GHANA? Please help me put that question to the Afuffo- Addo / Bawumia government.

This is not even my main focus but the foresight under the tenure of former President Mahama and how Cocobod took steps to cure the problems associated with the cocoa forward sales system which the NPP regime has been quick to blame for all the ills of the industry. I dare say the NPP has exaggerated the problems of their failed forward sales to cover their incompetence without proposing any alternatives. The NDC, on the other hand, foresaw the likely problems the Cocobod could face in times when cocoa prices could rise so high after all the cocoa has been sold earlier through forward sales. That is what the Cocobod is faced with today.

 

WHAT DID THE EXPERTS DO UNDER MAHAMA?

The Board of Directors approved a pilot program of sales system where Cocobod can undertake forward sales and to use the proceeds of the sale for the usual syndication or to determine the producer price at the start of the season, being the two most important reasons for the forward sale system. However, the novel sale system being developed is built into it a component that would give Cocobod the opportunity to continue to maintain interest in the price of the cocoa already sold and be paid additional monies for price increases up until the time that cocoa has been shipped. In this sale system, Cocobod would be well positioned to take advantage of the increase in cocoa prices even after they have concluded the forward sales and have no cocoa to sell. For example, if Cocobod had sold cocoa at $3600 per tonne sometime in September 2023 for shipment in March 2024, by now Cocobod would be able to cream off the additional price increase of over $6400 per tonne as additional revenue to the state ($10,000 – $3,600). For example, if Cocobod commits 50,000 metric tonnes of cocoa to the new sales program, it is likely to accrue $320 million in additional revenue. In essence, Cocobod may have sold all of its cocoa at this point but would still be able to benefit from the huge historical price of $10,000 being quoted now. I understand this idea was hailed and published in other places.

However, I was heartbroken to hear that the very expert who brought up the idea was targeted and hounded out as soon as NPP took over power for daring to think outside the box. It took a suit in the High Court to rule in his favour for constructive termination without justification. What does it provide Ghana when its experts are hounded out of the country for square pegs to fit into the round holes they leave behind?

The next NDC government would scout the best Ghanaian brains available to turn things around in the shortest possible time. Otherwise, Cocobod would soon crumble under our very eyes. The next NDC government would not only describe problems or blame others like the Akuffo-Addo / Bawumia government but would be one that would find solutions and at the same time punish wrongdoers. With the next NDC government, Cocobod would be back to its former glories. Let’s keep hope alive better days ahead.

 

*Kun fa Yakun*

By: Godwin Ako Gunn

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