COCOBOD ensuring that PBC stays afloat – Fiifi Boafo

Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, Fiifi Boafo, said COCOBOD has no intention to watch PBC, indigenous cocoa-buying company, collapse.

According to him, despite the significant challenges facing the company, the COCOBOD has initiated several measures to ensure that the company is reinvigorated and stays afloat.

Speaking on JoyNews’ PM Express, he said, “I agree that there is a challenge there, but when a business is in critical situation, it is not when you say that the fact that you have a challenge so automatically that business must collapse. There are private businesses that are going through challenging moments but they’re looking at means of ensuring that they’re able to stay afloat.”

JoyNews’ investigations have revealed how the country’s biggest indigenous cocoa-buying company, PBC, risks a possible collapse following its steep decline in market share from 30.88 per cent to 8 per cent over the last five years.

In January last year, the management of the company hinted at downsizing its staff because it was unable to meet financial and operational obligations to its workers.

In August 2022, management issued a memo it was unable to pay salaries to staff. It’s now a tale of huge debts, fallen revenue, tonnes of cocoa beans stuck in the farms and produce clerks engaged in double trading to survive.

According to Fiifi Boafo to reverse the misfortune of the company, the COCOBOD is taking rapid steps to ensure the survival of the company.

He said, “COCOBOD is ensuring that PBC is able to get seed funds. COCOBOD provides them with seed funds such that they’ll be able to go to the market and buy cocoa….we have a special arrangement, a special dispensation has been created between Ministry of Finance and SIGA where we give them the seed fund without them providing guarantee. If they’re not providing guarantee, it means that they’re able to save some money because by raising that guarantee from the bank will come at a cost. So that cost is also taken off of your cost of running your business.

“Apart from that we also realised that they were also having some challenges with the banks for example. So even raising money or even when monies were paid into their account it has its own challenge. So a special arrangement in connection with PBC has been made where the amounts are able to get to their district offices and then their agents out there to be able to buy cocoa for them.

“Of course when they raised their CTROs that is the receipt for cocoa purchases, a special arrangement has also been put in place to ensure that they’re able to get payment for that as early as possible in order for them to turnaround the money available to them.”

He continued that while the PBC still owes COCOBOD some money, “ there’s still the need for us to ensure that they’re able to go out there and do business.”

Thus COCOBOD is also assisting PBC “streamline some of their activities and we talked about how Golden Beam was making profit.

“This was not the case but because we realised that it was one of the things that was haemorrhaging the institution, there was the need to have some understanding that will bring them back to the profit line such that they would be able to make profit and they will not have to now send money to the hotel in order for the hotel to operate whereas they could be making profit to support their business.”

He had earlier stated that the PBC losing such large market share was partly due to strong competition from independent cocoa buying companies.

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