BusinessDay

Master bakers to begin strike Wednesday over rising production costs

...seek access to cassava intervention fund

The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) are set to shut down operations due to rising costs of production of bread and related products.

Benjamin Agbonze, Edo State chairman of the association, in an interview with BusinessDay in Benin City, said the nationwide strike would commence on Wednesday, July 20, 2022, pending further directives from the national body.

Agbonze explained that the planned withdrawal of their services, which was earlier scheduled for Wednesday, July 13 and later extended to the new date to allow a hitch-free Sallah celebration, was caused by the incessant increase in prices of baking materials, especially flour and sugar.

He said the price of a 50kg bag of flour, a major material for baking, has risen from N15,000 to N29,000 depending on the brand, while a 50kg bag of sugar is now N30,000 as against N18,000 sold a year ago.

Read also: Ways FG can address rising food prices in Nigeria

The bread makers and caterers said the soaring costs of production materials have pushed many out of business, calling on the Federal Government to allow master bakers benefit from the cassava intervention fund which, according to him, has accrued over the years.

The association’s chairman said the fund initiated by the previous administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, was, among other things, aimed at equipping and empowering bakers, but they are yet to fully reap the benefits.

“As we speak, bakers are not getting anything from it and we still contribute to the fund. If they cannot empower us with the fund that has accrued so far, then they should stop collecting it so that the money collected will be used to empower bakers nationwide. At least, it will reduce the prices of bread to a large extent.

“The withdrawal of services will start on Wednesday, July 20 as we await further directives from the national body. The Federal Government is not giving us a conducive environment to operate and that is why we are calling them to come and assist us as things are very costly. The flour millers are crying they don’t have access to forex, they go to the open market to source for forex at a black market rate and this has made the price to go up astronomically,” Agbonze said.

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