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    Cocoa bills: Banks should gear up for write-offs – Bright Simons

    The Vice President of IMANI Africa, Bright Simons, has asked banks and investors to gear up for substantial write-offs as COCOBOD’s refinancing prospects look gloomy.

    According to him, the board has realized that cocoa bills may be difficult to refinance.

    On his Twitter page on January 27, 2023, Bright Simons said, “Meanwhile, Cocobod finally realizes that plans to raise $3 billion to refinance cocoa bills are a pipe dream. Banks and other investors should start planning for significant write-offs. Sigh.”

    Earlier this week, the Bank of Ghana stated it had secured an agreement with the Ghana Cocoa Board and commercial banks to allow the of use COCOBOD’s deposits and placements held at the various banks to cater for retail customers who may not want to roll over their cocoa bills.

    This comes after the cocoa regulator [COCOBOD] recently defaulted on payments of its matured 182-day bill for the first time, rolling over outstanding securities of GH¢940.4 million, without the consent of investors.

    But the Central Bank in a statement issued on January 23, 2023, admitted that after a meeting held with COCOBOD, “it was agreed that all institutional investors will roll over their maturing cocoa bill for Tender 6155 adding that “financial institutions have agreed to roll over their cocoa bills investments.”

    Despite this, the BoG said it has been informed that some financial institutions rather sold their instruments to their retail clients.

    “To reduce the cash flow challenges on retail holders of cocoa bills, the Bank of Ghana, Cocobod and the commercial banks have agreed to allow banks to use Cocobod’s deposits/placements held at the various banks to cater for retail customers who may not want a roll-over of their cocoa bills,” the Central Bank said.

    “We, therefore, expect that this short-term cash flow challenges facing Cocoa Board will be resolved soon to enable Cocobod meet its obligations to investors,” it added.

    It, however, pointed out that the COCOBOD has assured the BoG that the outlook for the 2023 crop season looks promising while cocoa purchasing is also making headway.

    Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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