Bread Bakers Seek FG’s Intervention

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By Oluchi Chibuzor

Bread makers under the auspices of Premium Breadmakers Association of Nigeria (PBAN) and the Association of Masters and Caterers of Nigeria have called on the federal government to intervene in the rising cost of baking ingredients in the country.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Lagos recently, the President of PBAN, Tosan Jemide, said under the current economic realities and rising prices of baking ingredients facing its members the public, millers, ingredients manufactures, sugar refiners should expect corresponding increase in prices of bread.

“Data has shown that about 70 per cent of the flour consumed in the industry goes into bread production. It is therefore expedient for the federal government of Nigeria to do everything within its means to ensure that the industry does not die as we cannot breathe any longer. Our businesses have become comatose due to incessant increase in the prices of baking ingredients, and our inability to pass on the cost to the Nigerian consumer.

“Profit in our line of business has been wiped out completely. Capital injections through loans and equity investments have been pumped into a lot of these businesses and repayments are no longer possible due to the prevailing situation in the industry and the economy as a whole.”

With the bread industry estimated at $621 million with a compound annual growth rate of(CAGR) of three per cent within the year, the five per cent tariff on Wheat imports and 15 per cent Levy earmarked for national wheat development program since 2012 has not yielded effect in the local supply chain as bread remain critical in attainment of food security,” he explained.

Speaking further, he said: “Over the last six months, the prices of flour, sugar and other baking ingredients have skyrocketed without a corresponding increase in prices of bread by our member bakeries. It has become increasingly difficult to pass this cost onto the Nigerian consumer because of the eroding consumer spending power where sharp increases will take bread out of the reach of the common man.

“In the same vein, we request that the government intervenes prevail on sellers as well as imploring millers to put a stop to the incessant increment of price, giving some consideration to the manufactures.

“Most of us got loans with double digit interest rates from banks and other financial institutions to fund our bakery projects and are finding it extremely difficult to meet our loan repayment obligations,” he said.

A reflection on various ingredients price showed that between March 2020 and August 2020, the price of flour increased from N10, 500 per 50kg bag to N13, 500 per bag, while sugar increased from N13, 500 to N29, 000 and down to N19, 000. Margarine from N8, 500 to N11, 000 and Milk from N29, 000 now goes N52, 000.