Chef Vee Expresses Concern over High cost of Business, Proffer Solutions

Nigeria renowned chef, Vanessa Cole known as Chef Vee has expressed concern over the rising costs of doing business in Nigeria.

The renowned chef, in a statement, stated that frequent changes in prices of commodities is frustrating the business environment and warns that the economic downturn may kill the business sector.

“The current economic status in Nigeria has been a topic of conversation for everyone living there. Business costs are rising, consumer expenses are through the roof, everybody is suffering and it seems it is every man for themselves. I have found myself asking very important questions; Are we looking for a way to get out of this downturn? Are we providing options that will take care of our neighbor? Or are we carelessly adding fuel to the fire? she wrote.

She added: “ As a food entrepreneur myself, there are two options; increase price or decrease costs. From a business angle, the first thought would be to increase prices to offset increased costs. I see establishments increase their prices so often that they have thrown away printed menus /price tags and opted for digital avenues to allow them to change prices as often as they like. There is no price stability and it is driving customers crazy. Restaurants are empty, businesses are suffering and price increases will make the matter worse.”

To address the situation, Chef Vee advised the government to reduce importation of materials that could be sourced locally.

“For too long we have always looked outside of the country for quality but this habit needs to stop. We need to reduce the amount we spend on importation and look within our nation. We are not the US or France. We are Nigeria and we need to invest in our local produce. We need to understand our land, what grows well, and how to optimize its quality. We need to get out of the habit of depending on imported meat, and seafood when we have local products here. Every produce made in Nigeria has a way of making it best, be it slow cooking, tenderizing, or flame grilling. Find what works with what we have and adopt menus that showcase our produce best.”

The measure, she added, would reduce eating of low quality produce which are usually kept in a storage that spoils before being used.

“There is no room for waste in this economy. As a food business, the aim should be to move to become as sustainable as one can be. Some ideas include making stocks from bones and scraps, drying fruit and vegetable skins for salts and garnishes, and making oils with discards such as fish or prawn heads.”

Chef Vee urged the government to invest in infrastructure so that Nigeria could become self-reliant.

“We must use the time now to invest in long-term infrastructure that would help us become more self-reliant. From agriculture to production and processing, the day we can fend for ourselves and even make money from exporting our produce is the day all stakeholders will become richer.”

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