Bread prices will be increased by 15 per cent nationwide beginning from July 24, according to plans released by the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria.
Since last year, the prices of bread and other related confectionaries have been on an upward trajectory, going beyond the reach of many households.
The bakers emphasised that the recent spike in petrol prices and the depreciation of the naira are to blame for the rise in the cost of ingredients used in producing bread.
The group, in a statement signed by its national president, Alhaji Mansur Umar and national secretary, Mr. Jude Okafor, said the recent general hikes in their cost of production necessitated the new development.
“The recent general increases in our factors of production include, but not limited to additional N1.2 million on one truck of flour (N2,000 per bag), N3.6 million on a truck of sugar (N6,000 per bag), yeast additional N2,000 per carton, fuel from N205 to N550, diesel N650 to N700.…,” the statement reads in part.
The statement also said many bakers are already unemployed, with the number still growing due to the imposition of various taxes on flour millers that are ultimately transmitted to them.
“Effective 24th July 2023 as an interim measure, all members of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) are hereby advised to adjust their prices by 15 per cent (in consonance with the now heavily increased cost of factors of our production) across the board as we can only produce standard baked products in accordance with NAFDAC regulations as we cannot sacrifice the health of our fellow country men and women on the altar of breaking point by resorting to unhealthy practices pending further resolutions as we call on federal and state governments to intervene urgently and save our industry from total collapse,” the association said in the statement.
While the national body recommended 15 per cent increase, the association’s secretary for the Kaduna chapter, Musa Zamzam, told our reporter that the union’s executives in the state would meet before July 24 and deliberate on the possible price of bread.
“We’re going to converge and have a meeting to see how we are going to implement our own price review. It might be not up to that 15 per cent or more. It depends on how our peculiar situation here in Kaduna will be.
“This is because you can’t compare the situation in Lagos and what we are facing here in Kaduna. The challenges are quite different, so we need to look at all these things before we reach an agreement as to what percentage we’re going to review,” he added.
The chairman of Kwara State Master Bakers Association, Alhaji Abdulfatai Alaba, said the southwest zone had not decided on increment yet.
“Increment is not in our plan for now, maybe that is at the national. We are holding meetings on how the price of flour can come down first. It is after we have exhausted all avenues with the government to bring down the price that we will be forced to increase because of the consequences.
“Anytime we increase the price, there is always a sharp drop in sales except for those that cannot do without it. Now, the price of a bag of flour is N33,600 from N30,600. Now we have to weigh in the cost of fuel we use to deliver because customers don’t come to the bakery again because of the increment in the price of fuel coupled with the astronomical cost in the price of spare parts.
“To say the present bread situation in the country is terrible is an understatement. Some bakers are even now contemplating relocating outside the country,” he added.
A popular bread vendor in Ilorin, Mr Thompson Michael, told Daily Trust that additional increases will seriously affect sales, which have already drastically dropped.
“Sales have not been encouraging since after the last increase, it has not been the same, and any one now might be a double kill,” he said.
A consumer, Mrs Lateefat Abdullahi, said a further increase will drastically reduce the level of consumption for the family.
According to the civil servant, “Bread used to be a daily delicacy in our home but that is now in the past. We seldom buy it now after we have exhausted all other alternatives.
“A loaf of N600 bread now can be consumed at a sitting by the children. Any further increment on the price will only quicken its removal from our consumption options completely,” she added.
In Benue State, a popular baker in Makurdi metropolis, Tersoo Nyor, said the decision by AMBCON to increase prices of bread was occasioned by the removal of subsidy from petrol which has impacted on production.
“It’s normal because when we were buying fuel for N210 per litre, we used fuel in our generator to bake bread and do night work. We were using 20 litres a day which was N4,200 but now, we are buying at N540 per litre which makes it N10,800.
“Apart from that, after baking, our vehicles carry bread to go and sell—running around in Makurdi takes 10 litres and you will use N5,400 for that quantity of petrol.
“So there is still a great difference compared to when we bought that quantity for N2,100.”
Another consumer, Uche Nnorom, is worried that the increase is coming when Nigerians are going through an excruciating condition which would further worsen their plight.
“I appeal to the baker’s association to reduce the increase. It means bread will no longer exist on the breakfast table of Nigerians like me,” Nnorom said.
Alhaji Ibrahim Kabiru, a Kano-based baker said the increase is long overdue because a lot of small-scale bakeries have closed down business for long.
“Many bakers were forced out of business due to the high cost of bread-making components, either petrol prices or naira devaluation. What a baker knows is what is affordable or unaffordable and to me the major cause is the increase in the cost of sugar and flour,” he said.
He explained that a 50kg bag of flour is now sold at N29,000 and a 50kg bag of sugar is sold at N39,000 coupled with the high cost of other bread-making ingredients.