Following the Federal Government’s decision to increase energy cost of fuel and electricity tariff and scarcity of foreign exchange, the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) has stated that Nigerians should expect 50 per cent increase in retail cost of bread and other finished baked items in the country.
The move, according to the association, became inevitable following the increment in the cost of energy, which has affected the cost of flour in the market and other food items in the country, including the sourcing of forex to import flour. Besides, many manufacturing firms are facing stiff challenges in forex sourcing over low accrued revenue generation by government following slide in crude oil price at the international market. However, the decision of the leadership of the AMBCN also coincided with the position of the Premium Breadmakers Association of Nigeria (PBAN) on the impending hike in prices of breads. In separate interviews in Lagos with Saturday Telegraph yesterday, the Chairman, Lagos State chapter of AMBCN, Mr. Raji Omotunde and the Public Relations Officer (PRO), Abuja chapter of AMBCN, Nura Musa, both linked the proposed increase in price to the inflated prices experienced in the purchase of baking ingredients in the country.
They argued that the hike in energy cost had brought uncertainty to the baking business in the country with severe economic implications. On his part, Omotunde said several engagements with flour millers revealed constraints with access to foreign exchange to procure materials for the milling process. He said: “All ingredients used for baking are too high in cost, 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. “As a result, majority of members are seriously constrained.
The only option we have now is to cry out so that government can come to our rescue. “I can categorically tell you that the 50 per cent hike in breads price can be attributed also to energy cost as we all rise in production cost.” Also, Musa urged the government to intervene in the prices of baking materials. He said: “Many bakers are finding it difficult to make profits due to the high cost of the materials. 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.”