The President of the association, Emmanuel Onuorah, who made the disclosure in an interview with our correspondent on Sunday, said the increase became inevitable due to soaring costs of operations.
He said, “For PBAN, we have increased our bread price. We increased the prices of our bread across all variants. Ordinarily, if we want to follow the trend, we should be increasing our bread price by N300. However, as a responsible association, we increased only the price of the bigger size-the one they call jumbo-by N100 and the sliced bread by N50.”
“We did not make any changes to the prices of the smaller sizes. The reason is that it is often bought by bricklayers, commercial motorcycle/tricycle operators, etc.”
According to Onuorah, a big part of the albatross hanging over the bread-making industry has to do with the import duty charged by the government on wheat imports.
“In other climes, especially here in Africa, the government removes duty on wheat imports because of the current global tension. But here, nobody is looking after anybody. We’ve been crying and talking about this, we’ve been doing advocacy, and yet nobody is coming to our aid,” he said.
The union leader gave an analysis of the other challenges facing bakers.
“We don’t import only wheat. Let me give you a list of the inputs we use in making bread, and you will see that almost all of them are imported. Number one, we use wheat to produce the flour-this makes about 60 per cent of the inputs we use. Two, sugar-we refined sugar in Nigeria but the syrup we use to refine it comes from Brazil-we import it. Three-the softener we use in making the bread to be soft is imported from Europe and from China. The preservative we use also comes from China and Europe.”
Onuorah also accused flour-producing companies of an arbitrary increase in the price of the product.
He further blamed the Federal Government for allegedly allowing flour-milling companies to operate without adequate regulation and monitoring.
“On Thursday, the millers increased flour price by N1,500 per bag. We had not even increased the price of bread at that time. For the N1,500 increase in the price of flour, we’ve lost N30 on our margin, and our price increase has not even begun. The increase in the price of bread will begin tomorrow,” he noted.
According to the PBAN president, the latest increase may only be a prelude to further increments that would see a significant increase in the price of bread as the prevailing circumstances remain unreflective of the conditions bakers require to operate profitably.