Hospitality providers under the aegis of Anambra State Restaurant and Bar Owners Association (ARBOA), say the channel of distribution of beverage products, especially beer, is cumbersome.
The association members which met with representatives of some producers in Awka on Sunday, blamed inflation in prices of products on multiple levels of interaction between retailers and the breweries.
Mr Boniface Akunna, Chairman, Board of Trustees of ARBOA who addressed journalists after the meeting, said that the artificial scarcity is attributable to delay in delivery and inability of members to access distribution points easily.
Akunna said Anambra is a huge market and that producers should establish warehouses in strategic locations instead of leaving distribution of products in the hands of dealers.
He said members also complained that incentives do not get to them who are the people at the end of the distribution chain that interact directly with consumers.
“We want a more robust relationship with supplies of products. We want the companies to feel us also, we are at the mercy of dealers here and they are not handling our orders well as a result of delays, the situation is affecting our business.
“If the companies have depots here, they will be closer to the masses and prices will also drop, because the supply chain will be shorter.
“We also want them to give us incentives like bonuses, tables, chairs, chillers, if they are closer they will be able to know us, but as it is, only dealers and distributors enjoy these things,” he said.
Mr Emeka Igwe, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party and guest at the meeting, said every effort should be made to cut down the number of middlemen in the leisure and hospitality sector to enable customers to have true value for their money.
Igwe, who is contesting Awka North and Awka South Federal Constituency in Anambra, said he is available to work with ARBOA and other stakeholders to ensure that they operate in a mutually-profitable environment.
Igwe was represented by Mr Emmanuel Machie, a Director in his Campaign Organisation.
Responding, a Sales Representative of one of the beverage manufacturers, promised to relay the challenges of the restaurant and bar owners to his company for necessary reaction.
The Rep who pleaded anonymity, however, pointed out that the company is relying wholly on dealers for distribution of products while assuring that the existing network would be strengthened for more effectiveness.