The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has pledged his administration’s commitment to strengthen partnership with master bakers and caterers as well as other relevant stakeholders in the confectioneries sub-sector to open up space for economic diversification and drive job creation in the state.
He made the pledge during a courtesy visit by the Edo State Chapter of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, at Government House, in Benin City, Edo State.
Obaseki, who acknowledged the role of bakers in boosting food supply chain in the state, noted that beyond feeding the state, the industry has created job opportunities.
He assured that through various economic programmes and initiatives, the state government would support the expansion of over 400 bakeries in the state to enhance their capacities to employ more persons, which would enable the industry meet the demand for bread in the state.
“We want to work better with you and have a window that allows for regular meetings so that we would know the challenges confronting the 400 bakeries in the state. Electricity is a challenge; we need to find a way out of it and see how we can give soft grants such as the trader-moni to those in the marketing end of the bread production business,” he noted.
He said the state’s Ministry of Health and other relevant agencies would work closely with the association to eliminate the sale of substandard bread, adding, “We need to know the people who are bringing the substandard products into the state. We only need you to give us the information and we will apprehend perpetrators.”
Obaseki assured the bakers and caterers that the state government is working on harmonising and improving the tax collection system to reduce distractions in their businesses.
Earlier, the State Chairman, Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Benjamin Agbonze, said they are ready to partner with the state government towards actualising the governor’s target of creating 200,000 jobs in the state.
He said the association has reported cases of contaminated bread coming from neighbouring states and assured that they will continue to prioritise the safety of bread consumers in the state.
“The average shelf life of a good bread is four to five days. Bread from neighbouring states stay more than 14 days, which shows that unwholesome materials are being used, which is very dangerous to the health of our people,” Agbonze added.