By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigerians should expect an increase of at least 50 per cent in the retail prices of bread and other baked products, the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) has hinted.
According to Mr Raji Omotunde, the Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of AMBCN, the proposed increase is because of the inflated prices of baking ingredients at the market.
Mr Omotunde, speaking today, said from the several engagements members of the group had with flour millers, it was discovered one of the reasons for the hike in the ingredients was the scarcity of foreign exchange to procure materials for the milling process.
“Prices of all ingredients used for baking are too high, especially flour and sugar.
“Between March and September, there has been a monthly addition of N500 on a bag of flour and bakers have been bearing the additional cost.
“But as it is, baking bread and selling at the current price is no longer profitable.
“We have been appealing to the millers but they are groaning about the absence and increase in the price of foreign exchange.
“The only option we have now is to cry out so that government can come to our rescue,” he said.
This is coming a day after association alongside the Premium Breadmakers Association of Nigeria (PBAN) warned of the imminent price increase at a press conference that held in Lagos.
Mr Tosan Jemide, president of PBAN, said activities in the baking business had become dormant by reason of consistent rises in the prices of baking ingredients.
He stated that the prices of sugar, flour and other ingredients had soared over the last six months without a relative rise in the prices of bread by member bakeries.
“We have been busy helping them remain profitable while our businesses suffer, because we are more in tune with the purchasing power of the consumer and are deeply concerned about food security.
“PBAN and AMBCN shall no longer take a seat and watch such blatant increases in prices going forward. We shall react with equal price increases or stiff resistance,” he said.
He enjoined the government to intervene in rescuing the $621 million industry from collapse by supporting millers in accessing forex without difficulty.
Business Post understands that manufacturers spend around 38 per cent of their operating costs on providing alternative electricity alone as grid electricity becomes increasingly unreliable around the country.
Another complaint was that the wheat development programme initiated in 2012 was yet to yield results despite a 15 per cent development levy being paid.
The bakers’ unions recommended that the government review its foreign exchange policy by offering importers liberty to access forex as local wheat production could not meet increasing flour demand.
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