By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Nigerians may soon have to pay more to purchase a loaf of bread at the market if feelers from the Premium Bread Makers Association of Nigeria (PBAN) are anything to go by.
The association disclosed at a press briefing on Monday in Lagos that there are strong indications consumers will have to cough out more money to eat bread.
This is because prices of the key ingredients used in baking bread have increased and to break-even, makers of bread must add more to the current cost of the commodity, which is a stable food in the country.
According to PBAN, between 2015 and 2018, the price of flour had increased from N6,500 to N11,500 per 50kg bag, while sugar had seen 77 percent rise in price in the same period, with salt, margarine, yeast and preservatives had recorded 84 percent, 67 percent, 112 percent, 45 percent and 137 percent increases, respectively.
Also, the price of diesel, which is used to power factory generators on a 24-hour basis, had gone up by 57 percent, while the price of improvers used in enhancing the quality of bread had risen by 160 percent during the period, the association stated, adding that conversely, the price of bread had only witnessed 11 per cent rise within the period.
At the moment, the average loaf of bread costs about N350 and with this warning, consumers may have to pay at least N400.
“The challenges we face as a result of the incessant increase in the prices of baking ingredients have rendered most premium bakeries comatose making us to operate at a loss,” President of the association, Mr Jemide Tosan, lamented at the briefing yesterday.
According to him, “Given the current situation, most premium bakeries may be forced to embark on a price increase, which will further make bread unaffordable to the common man.”
However, he assured that, “As an association, we are totally committed to ensuring that Nigerians have healthy, quality, affordable and harmless bread on their tables.”
Mr Tosan disclosed that in the past three years, prices of flour, sugar and other baking ingredients had increased threefold without a corresponding increase in the prices of premium bread by its members.
“Most of us got loans with double-digit interest rates from financial institutions to fund our bakery projects and are finding it extremely difficult to meet our loan repayment obligations,” Mr Tosan disclosed.
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