As part of efforts to enhance cocoa purchasing, the Produce Buying Company Limited (PBC) has acquired 134 new vehicles worth GH¢8.5m.
The vehicles, which comprise 100 light duty trucks and 34 articulators, would enhance the haulage and transportation section of the leading cocoa and cash crop dealer in the country.
PBC annually buys about 30 to 40 per cent of cocoa beans countrywide. Private evacuation cost the PBC between ¢7.5 billion and ¢15.2 billion from 2004 to 2006, an increase of 102 per cent.
At a short ceremony to dedicate the vehicles to the company's headquarters in Accra, the Managing Director, Mr. Anthony Osei Boakye said the acquisition was made possible through a loan facility from Barclays Bank and Standard Chartered Bank. The banks provided ¢60 million and ¢25 million respectively.
The loan facility was a medium term loan to be paid between the next 3 and four years.
The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Hon. Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, in a statement made on his behalf said PBC, supported by the efforts of licensed cocoa buying companies, was really contributing to the country's economic development.
“Two years ago when the purple bean disease struck, most cocoa buyers were reluctant to buy the beans but the PBC worked hard to procure more beans.”
He later advised the management and the company's drivers who had gathered at the forecourt of the head office for the commissioning ceremony to ensure that the vehicles were well taken care off by maintaining them on regular basis.
The minister pledged government's continuous support to the PBC to enhance the company's operations.
He however advised PBC to, with its experience in the industry, venture into the purchasing of other cash crops to help establish those sectors.
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Cocobod, Isaac Osei, in a remark reiterated the need for the vehicles to undergo routine and periodic maintenance “to reap anticipated financial benefits”.
PBC's Deputy managing Director in Charge of Operations, Mr. George K. Boateng noted that the company recorded an increase in the cost of repairs and maintenance from ¢3.534 billion to ¢5.225 billion in the 2004/5 and 2005/6 crop years as a result of the aging nature of the vehicles.
He expressed PBC's ambition to attain 100 percent evacuation at the primary level from its current level of 18 per cent as well as record a 30 per cent at the secondary level from the current 11 per cent to boost its freight earnings.
By Emelia Ennin