Mr Speaker, let me thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the Motion that the House approves US$600,000,000 for
cocoa productivity enhancement programme by the COCOBOD. In doing so, to appreciate that cocoa remains a major foreign exchange earner for our country, it is not wrong even if Government is candid to say that it is borrowing for fiscal purposes. This is because the cocoa sector can serve that dual role of export earning in terms of foreign exchange and improving the fiscal regime in terms of it.
Mr Speaker, our difficulty is not to support Government and cocoa farmers since Government is engaged in legitimate effort to boost cocoa production and to increase cocoa production. From the statistics that I have read, we do not want the situation where Ghana would go to the days of 1983, where cocoa production declined to about 160,000 compared to 568,000 in 1960. We need to take measures to improve cocoa production in Ghana including support to cocoa farmers.
Mr Speaker, as Hon Ato Forson, the Ranking Member, supported by Hon Eric Opoku alluded to, may I kindly refer you to page 6 of the Committee's Report. You would see a table there. As the Minority, we demand better particulars in respect of these matters even as we support this loan facility. It says “promotion of domestic processing -- US$
200,000,000.00”. We would want to know where the US$2,000,000.00 would go because it can even set up four processing factories, if we were to do a minimum of US$50,000,000.00 per factory. That would support indigenous Ghanaians in that sector. We have no difficulty with it. However, when they say they want US$200,000,000.00 to support domestic processing of cocoa, the Committee must demand who would get this as support. Is it a private entity or a public-private entity? We need to know because you can set up a factory with US$50,000,000.00.
Mr Speaker, that is why I support the Hon Ranking Member of the Committee on Food, Agriculture and Cocoa Affairs. When you draw down within six months one cannot set up these factories within six months.
Mr Speaker, I refer you to the Committee's Report. We need full details from Government on what the intendment of promotion of domestic processing is and whom it would go to and for what? How much would that person or entity contribute to value addition in the cocoa sector and what employment would that generate? We need to know.
Mr Speaker, you have already resolved the matter of promotion of
consumption. We need to know how much is going to each of Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), West African Mills Company (WAMCO) Limited, Niche Cocoa and Plot Enterprise. At least, when I was the Hon Minister for Trade and Industry, I visited Plot Enterprise in the Western Region, and so I understand. They just do not come for an envelope of US$200,000,000.00 and maybe go and disproportionally distribute it without knowing their capacity. [Interruption.] I say it is disproportional because they have not provided the details.
Mr Speaker, reference has been made to pages 11 and 12. The Hon Chairman of the Committee has to correct what came to him formally from the COCOBOD in page 6 of the Report. The very document he was contesting has US$7,516,488.08. In the Report it was, US$7,516,448.07. So he is wrong. If you do the computation, you would not get the
[Interruption.] Mr Speaker, he should accept to do it. When you were directing him, he was not listening.
To the Hon Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, promotion of consumption is US$7.5 million. US$5 million out of that is going into the School Feeding Programme. When the programme was initiated and