Bread makers in some states in Nigeria have yet again increased the price of bread and flour on Monday, forcing people to pay more amid a crippling economic crisis.
a sign of the deepening crisis, some Master Bakers said they were resuming production after weeks of a strike but would increase the prices of their products.
Last week, the Premium Breadmakers Association of Nigeria (PBAN) announced it would embark on a four-day warning strike to force the Federal Government to put in place business-friendly policies.
The President of Premium Breadmakers Association of Nigeria (PBAN), Emmanuel Onuorah, said that operating a bakery in Nigeria has become near impossible as the incessant increase in the prices of baking materials and diesel rendered the industry comatose.
He added that members of his association, comprising owners, managing directors and partners of premium bakeries in Nigeria, are mostly running on huge losses, which is no longer sustainable.
In the latest development, bakers in some states have pulled out of the strike, declaring their intention to increase the price of their bread.
“Although the federal government is yet to respond to our pleas and demands, we are satisfied that we have at least sent a message hoping for a positive result,” Gabriel Bamidele-Adeniyi, Chairman, Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Kogi Chapter, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
“Unfortunately, as we resume production on July 25, bread prices will increase by 20 percent.”
“We want the public to know that the new increment in prices of stable bread is not our making but the increase in the prices of commodities we use in bread production.
“We want the government to see that prices of yeast, sugar and flour being imported are drastically reduced so that only three companies have the license to import them.
“Unfortunately, those three firms are monopolizing the prices of sugar, yeast and flour to the detriment of bakers in Nigeria,” he lamented.
The PBAN chairman of Cross River State, Thomas Odey, also confirmed the development, saying that the planned increment is insufficient.
He states, “This is a global issue that is not peculiar to Nigeria or materials for baking alone, but the price of every foodstuff has increased significantly, Ripples Nigeria reported.
“In my contacts with big flour mills in the country, they will tell you the Russia/Ukraine crisis, exchange rate and the issue of sourcing foreign currency are posing significant challenges and increasing the price of wheat flour.
“In my training with Flour Mill, I discovered that they mixed cassava flour with wheat to get what they used, but the kind of cassava they used was a species we need to develop in large quantities.”
With inflation rates of 18.6 percent, and purchasing power dwindling, Nigerians will pay more for bread in the coming days as bakers in some states have announced price hikes to cover the high cost of ingredients.
The West African nation has been grappling with the worst economic crisis in its history amid growing public debt, dwindling revenues and foreign currency. Unemployment has worsened, inflation has soared, and nearly half of the population is now living below the poverty line.
According to the World Food Programme (WFP), about 19.5 million people are projected to be in crisis or worse levels of acute food insecurity in Nigeria during the lean season (June– August 2022), including 1.2 million in an emergency if humanitarian interventions are not scaled up and sustained.
Three states (Borno, Adamawa and Yobe) contain about half the population in an emergency, and more than one-quarter of people in critical need of emergency assistance in Borno are projected to be located in inaccessible areas where access to life-saving assistance is expected to be lacking.