By Robert Awokuse
Members of Bakers and Confectioners Association of Nigeria have lamented burden associated with over dependent on importations of baking equipment, materials and other products of small and medium enterprises, saying that such dependency may not allow businesses to fester in the country.
This is even as the association identified lack of funds as a major challenge confronting business growth in the country, calling on the government and relevant authorities to provide financial aids to entrepreneurs in baking and confectionery industry in order to grow their businesses.
The association, also identified as Bakers’ House, noted that with importations of baking equipment and materials, more funds are being required for purchase of these tools, hence soliciting for soft loans with “very low interest” such that would enable upcoming bakers for quick start up.
The association stated this yesterday at an event held in Lagos to mark its achievements in year 2019.
Speaking to journalists, the president and founder, Engr Edith Ozumba lamented shortage of funds as a major challenge to growing of businesses.
Ozumba who hinted that the association was founded in order to help bakers and their businesses grow, noted that inadequate funds have prevented many of its members to acquire the requisite baking materials, thus limiting their business expansion.
“One of our major challenges as bakers is lack of money to grow our businesses,” the president and founder said. “We are using this medium to call on the government and financial institutions to assist us in soft loans with little interest.
” Some of our bakers still mix manually because they can’t afford mixer of about 20,000 naira. So if the government can help us for loans and the association can stand for any of our member who collect these loans so that they can be paying little by little to acquire these things needed such as mixer, oven and so on.
“We also want the government to make production of locally made baking equipment and materials to be encouraged. We don’t have any company making bakers tools in Nigeria and this is not good enough. And it is not that we can’t do it but lack of funds has been our challenge. It might interest you to know that the amount we spend on importing these tools and equipment run into billions of naira. And we have in Nigeria rubber which is a major raw material for these baking equipment. So we will be saving a lot of monies if government can help aid production of these materials in Nigeria.”
While enumerating other activities of the association to include trainings and skills empowerment, Ozumba enjoined the government to support with funds to facilitate trainings at highly subsidised rate like 60%, stressing that this would go a long way for its members, many of whom she said were breadwinners in their respective homes.
Also speaking, head of admin, Bakers House, Ajoke Awolowo urged the government to provide fund support through loans with little interest.
She stated some of the achievements of the association to include trainings of members and empowerment, financial support for business expansion and services amongst others.
“A lot have been achieved looking at where we started and where we are right now. Some of the things we have recorded are trainings and empowerment of members and non members, financial support. And we are using this medium to call on the government to help us for loans support; soft loans with very little interest rate. This will go a long way. The baking and confectionery industry accommodates large skills to include decoration, event management, and so on.”
Sharing her experience, an administrator of the association and CEO Ruddygroup, Ruth Odita, while applauding the organization urged the government to provide financial support for bakers.
“Baker’s House has been very significant and helpful to me in growing my business because through it I’ve been more efficient on my services. However we want the government to provide us with more avenues to access loans with little interest rate so that more bakers will have opportunity to expand their businesses.”
A member of the association, Stella Irabor also added “ever since I’ve been a member I’ve felt the impact on my business and self development so much that I am much convinced that women are great asset. We want support from government in area of loans with little interest in order to grow our businesses.”
Bakers House is a body of professional bakers and confectioners established in 2017.