By Dipo Olowookere
Bakers and caterers in Nigeria have threatened to down tools if nothing was done about the high cost of flour in the country.
They claimed millers have refused to drop the price of flour despite the Naira appreciating against the Dollar.
The bakers said the price of flour was hiked when local currency declined at the foreign exchange market and wondered why millers have failed reduce cost of the commodity now that the exchange rate if fair.
In addition, they said the price of diesel had dropped drastically in the last few months, selling around N155 and N170 per litre.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said South-West Vice-Chairman of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Mr Jacob Adejorin, said on Thursday that his members had meetings with the flour millers on this issue, but nothing good came out from the talks.
“Naira has appreciated against the Dollar and the price of diesel has fallen drastically from N250 per litre to N170 across the country.
“We bakers cannot continue to buy a bag of flour at N11,300 which was the price fixed when the Naira was exchanged at N500 to a Dollar.
“We proposed a reduced price range of between N9,500 and N10,000 per bag, but the millers declined the proposal.
“Out of the five flour mills in the country, only one mill accepted our plea and is selling to us at N10,600 per bag, which is commendable.
“The stance of other flour mills is that reduction in price will only happen when Naira/Dollar exchange rate is N300. We do not know when that will occur.
“We cannot continue to bear the financial burden of high cost of production, dearth of bakeries and lack of profit as most bakers are currently living from hand to mouth,” Mr Adejorin.
“The millers did not consider our call for price reduction, but rather gave flour dealers a rebate of N500 per bag.
“Flour dealers cannot bake bread with the flour being produced nor give affordable bread price to the masses.
“Bakers are vital stakeholders in the value chain, but they have neglected us.
“When we down tools nationwide, they will understand our importance to their production and success,” he added.
He appealed to the Federal Government to intervene in the matter before it turns something else.
Bread, one of the products from flour, has recently recorded hike in price, selling for around N300 per loaf at the market.
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