The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN), South-East chapter, will withdraw its services from July 13, as directed by its national body.
The Zonal Chairman of the association, Dominic Nwibe, disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abakaliki.
NAN reported that on June 26, the National President of AMBCN, Mansur Umar, directed members to begin a two-week strike from July 13, citing an increase in prices of bakery materials.
“We had a zonal meeting in Abakaliki and decided to follow the directive, which is supposed to last for two weeks.
“A bag of baking flour which hitherto cost N25,000 now costs N28,000 and is worrisome that it will keep increasing.
“A bag of sugar which hitherto cost N9,000 presently cost N30,000 while 20 litres of groundnut oil costs about N20,000,” the South-east zonal chairman of the association, Mr Nwibe said.
He said the members felt it was unnecessary to keep increasing the prices of bakery products such as bread to the detriment of customers.
“The customers would feel that we are greedy and we want to let the federal government know that the situation has become unbearable.
“We are asking for the liberalisation of the sugar importation process to break the monopoly by two or three firms.
“These firms import sugar and control its price mechanisms as the withdrawal of services will make our customers know we are telling the truth about reasons for price increases”.
The zonal chairman regretted that the authorities blamed the high cost of materials on the economic effects of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
“We don’t see any justification to this assertion as flour, for instance, can be sourced from nearby countries,” he said.
Also speaking, the South-east Zonal Secretary of the association, Okey Ezeanata said bakers have been seriously affected by the development as most of them “have closed shops”.
“We urge the federal government to allow mass participation in our materials’ importation process just like in the telecommunication sector,” he said.
The association said the National Wheat Cultivation Committee constituted over a year ago was yet to be inaugurated.
The bakers, in March, complained that the hike in diesel price and exchange rate volatility caused many of its members across the country to shut down their businesses.
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