Business News of Saturday, 14 May 2016
Government has commenced processes to liquidate the assets of the West African Mills Company Limited (WAMCO) and turn around the fortunes of the company which is currently reeling under huge debts.
This follows the huge accumulated debts WAMCO owes most of its suppliers including the Ghana COCOBOD.
The Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, Noah Amenyah who confirmed the liquidation process to Citi Business News said, “Government has since 2014 begun a process to liquidate WAMCO to enable it pay off the debts that it owes COCOBOD and other companies,” he stated.
Challenges that have confronted WAMCO which operates on a Public Private Partnership, have adversely affected production levels for some time now. The development has also compelled the company to shut down its operations as it has been difficult to defray its accumulated debts.
Citi Business News understands WAMCO currently owes COCOBOD about 50 million dollars. “As at 2003, WAMCO owed COCOBOD over 32 million dollars.
“Currently, it owes 45.9 million dollars. COCOBOD cannot continue to give cocoa beans to WAMCO to process and not pay and as at now once they owe us we have stopped supplying them for some time now,” Noah Amenyah further noted.
A recent row between the COCOBOD workers union and the Industrial and Commercial workers Union (ICU) over a break away by the former; has also prompted the ICU to press charges against the CEO of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Opuni.
ICU argues that the ineffective management of Dr. Opuni has resulted in the collapse of WAMCO and the decline in the cocoa output recently. But Public Affairs Manager of COCOBOD, Noah Amenyah disagrees.
He maintained that the debts have rather forced his outfit to halt supplying more cocoa beans to WAMCO, “We can say that the call by the ICU that we should pay WAMCO workers does not come in; you do not work for me and yet you owe me. How do you expect me to pay you? So that is a matter that is one of ridicule,” he observed.
Meanwhile the COCOBOD workers union has also strongly defended the competence of Dr. Stephen Opuni.
The Chairman of the Supreme Council of Ghana COCOBOD, Alhassan Iddris intimated that Dr. Opuni’s efforts have stabilized the economy, “After assumption of office, Dr. Opuni has gone in for the syndicated loan of USD 1.7 billion to stabilize the condition of the country’s economy, having credence, he was able to pay that money and went in for another USD 1.8 billion that is ongoing and he will even finish paying that one too,” he said.