Business

Price increase: Unfolding devt casts doubt on inflation reports

Despite figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics indicating a downward trend in inflation, realities on ground have, however, revealed otherwise, as the situation bites harder on manufacturers, compelling them to hike prices of products.

 

While members of the Master Bakers Association of Nigeria raised the alarm last week with a threat to go on strike, a major alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage producer in the country, Nigeria Brewery Plc, has suddenly increased prices of its product over the unfriendly inflation rate and other economic challenges.

 

In a memo cited by New Telegraph, the management announced new price increase for all its beverage products in circulation nationwide. The memo advised all its direct customers of the new price review.

 

The memo, which was signed by NB Plc’s Sales Director, Uche Unigwe and dated September 18, 2021, stated that from the beginning of the week (Sunday) new price hike should reflect in the sales of all Nigerian Breweries Plc products nationwide amid inflation and other challenges bedevilling the manufacturing sector.

 

The memo read: “Re-Price review notification for September 2021. Kindly reference my letter (REF: SD/LA 10/21) dated 15th September, 2021. “Please find below a schedule showing our revised prices, which will take effect from Sunday, September 19, 2021.

 

“All conditions as stated in my previous letter remain valid. “All prices are VAT-inclusive. For further clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact your Regional Business Manager.”

 

Last week, the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria had threatened to withdraw its services nationwide to protest the incessant increase in the price of flour and other baking materials.

 

The bakers issued a two-week ultimatum, starting from September 23, for the Federal Government to address the situation, which they said was killing the industry.

 

The National President of the association, Alhaji Mansur Umar, issued the warning while briefing newsmen during their National Executive Council meeting in Abuja. He said the increasing cost of bakery ingredients, if not checked urgently, may soon drive bakers into extinction.

 

He said if the Federal Government failed to address the situation after the expiration of the two-week ultimatum, “we will direct our members to withdraw their services  across the country for one week.”

 

Umar lamented that amid the hike in the price of baking materials and multiple taxes, the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) jerked up its tariff regime, further worsening their plight.

 

He said the situation had compelled them to increase the prices of their products by 30 per cent across the board.

 

Umar said the situation had forced some of their members out of business, while others are living in debt. “At this time, most of our baking materials have risen to a level where appropriate bakery products pricing has become a very serious challenge.

 

“Our plea for the streamlining of our products regulations has not been heeded to, instead NAFDAC tariff regime has once again been jerked up. “It becomes worrisome if the manInterbank  agers of our economy actually wish the bakery industry to remain or go extinct,” he said.

 

He however urged members of the association not to relent in their efforts to save the industry from going into extinction. “We have no other industry than this, so, we must fight with all we have to keep the industry alive.

 

Remember, survival is the first instinct of life. We must not behave like dinosaurs that refused to adapt to changes in their environment and are now extinct.

 

“Arise great master bakers and expeditiously begin the correction of this obvious abnormally, which, if not checked, will drive us into the unemployment market,” he added.

 

NBS, last week, said headline inflation dropped to 17.01 per cent in August. The figure represented a 0.37 percentage points decline when compared to 17.38 per cent recorded in July.

 

In its Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, NBS said that food index also slowed by 1.03 percentage points to 20.30 per cent due to increases in prices of bread and cereals, milk, cheese and egg, oils and fats, potatoes, yam and other tuber food products, meat and coffee, tea and cocoa.

 

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