The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) says a 50 percent increase in the prices of bread is inevitable.
Raji Omotunde, Lagos state chapter chairman of AMBCN, said on Friday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the price hike became inevitable following the increases in prices of baking ingredients as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
A bag of flour which sold at N10,500 before the outbreak of Coronavirus, now sells at N13, 000. Also, a bag of sugar now sells between N19, 000 and N20,000 depending on bargaining power against the pre-COVID-19 price of N14,000.
The alert on the possible increase of the cost of bread is coming at a time when there is outrage over hike in pump price of petrol and new electricity tariff.
Omotunde added that manufacturers are now running at a loss, stating that “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 price of foreign exchange. The only option we have now is to cry out so that government can come to our rescue.”
Nura Musa, the Public Relations Officer of AMBCN, Abuja chapter, called for government intervention to avert the increases as it will affect sales which will consequently affect bakery jobs across the country.
Musa said government support is needed to reduce production costs, which according to him, is killing the bakery business.
“The instability of foreign exchange, high cost of diesel and other baking materials are reasons given by flour millers for the hike in the prices of baking materials. We have appealed to flour millers and other people involved in the selling of baking materials to reduce their prices but they have not responded.
“And that is why we are pleading with Federal Government to intervene in this matter by engaging the flour millers and baking material sellers. The association is one of the largest employers of labour in the country and if any bakery should fold up many people will lose their jobs.”