The Abuja bakers’ union has directed its members to implement a 20 per cent increase in prices of bread amid an increase in the cost of ingredients.
A union official told PREMIUM TIMES on Friday that operators of bakeries in the federal capital territory were advised that it was better to increase prices and reduce the quantities of bread loaves to cover the increased cost of ingredients like flour, sugar and butter, rather than close shop.
The decision followed days of scarcity of bread in Abuja, and speculations that bakers had gone on strike. Many households rely on bread as their staple for mostly breakfasts and other meals.
“We did not go on strike. It was a cleaning exercise,” said Nura Musa, the public relations officer of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, FCT Chapter.
“We advised members to go on 20 per cent increase so as to cover their cost of production and also provide gain for the business,” Mr Nura said.
“You don’t need to go on strike; produce small and increase the price,” he added.
In Abuja, a loaf of bread that previously sold for N350 now sells for N400, while a N100 loaf now sells for N120.
Mr Nura said a N9000 worth of flour now sells for N14, 000; N11, 000 worth of sugar sells for N18, 000 while N6, 000 worth of butter sells for N10, 000.
A staff of IMC bakery in Kubwa, Abuja, who did not want his name mentioned, gave similar figures of the ingredients.
“We are experiencing high cost of flour and sugar now in the market, a bag of flour we use to buy at ₦11,000 now goes for ₦14,000 and a bag of sugar now moved from ₦12,000 to ₦18,000, with this, if we don’t increase the bread price, it will be difficult to continue with the business,” he said.
Peace Izeduwa, the manager of Nexta Bread, also in Kubwa, confirmed that the bakery had increased the cost of its N350 loaf to N400 at retail price. She also blamed the increase to the recent hike in the prices of sugar and flour.
Apart from the increase in the prices of flour, they said the product was also very scarce and hard to come by.
Dealers attributed the flour scarcity to the current forex problem in the country, which makes it difficult for most ingredients to be imported into the country.
Nigeria does not produce enough flour to meet local demand.
The Central Bank has issued several policies to restrict access to dollars for importation of food. This followed the impact on the economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Mr Nura, the bakers’ union spokesperson, the group recently enlightened its members on how to calculate their cost of production and how to adjust to the new economic realities.
He said the union also used last week to check unhygienic bread production by some members, and those that produce without proper registration by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).