GHANA- Ghana’s Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) is in the spotlight as the executive government announces plans for privatization, aiming to revitalize the struggling state-owned entity.
The move comes as part of a broader effort to enhance the competitiveness of public operators in the cocoa processing sector, which is pivotal to the nation’s agricultural export earnings.
The announcement was made by Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s Minister of Finance, during a press briefing on September 13.
Ofori-Atta revealed that the privatization program encompasses not only CPC but also 16 other public companies operating in various sectors.
CPC, the primary public cocoa grinding company, has faced financial difficulties for the past 14 years, primarily attributed to management issues.
The Minister of Finance disclosed that the company had incurred a cumulative loss of approximately US$163.2 million between 2009 and 2022.
“If you look at the state-owned enterprises, the ones that are joint venture partners are doing much better, and maybe that’s what’s needed to move forward,” Ofori-Atta stated.
“So there will be more privatizations so that they do not become a burden on the government while still carrying out their main task of production.”
CPC’s ownership structure currently includes Cocobod as the majority shareholder with 57.7% of the company’s shares, followed by the Ministry of Finance holding 26%, and the Social Security and National Insurance Fund (SSNIT).
The privatization plan is expected to bring significant changes to the ownership dynamics of the company.
CPC, which captures less than 2% of the market share of cocoa processing products, faces stiff competition from international giants.
American company Cargill leads the market with 28% of the share, followed closely by Belgian-Swiss Barry Callebaut at 27.8%, and Singaporean Olam at 15.1%.
While specific details about the privatization process have yet to be disclosed, the move is seen as a significant step towards restructuring the cocoa processing industry in Ghana.
The government aims to bolster the sector’s performance and ensure its sustainability as a vital contributor to the nation’s economy. The impact of these reforms on the cocoa industry and the fate of CPC will be closely monitored in the coming months.