From Abdullahi Jalaluddeen, Kano.
Bread bakers in Kano state, under the auspices of Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Kano chapter have said that increase in the price of flour has left them with no option than to increase the price of bread for their business to survive in the state.
Secretary of the association, Kabiru Hassan Abdullahi stated this while briefing newsmen in Kano.
He said the decision was due to increase in the price of flour and other ingredients used in making the bread.
Kabiru Hassan said the association could take both decision to shutdown business and subsequently increase the price, but in order not to render thousands of youths jobless which could be a threat to peaceful coexistence of the state, they decided to increase the price in the near future.
Abdullahi blamed government for failure to respond to their appeals for intervention to bring lasting solution to the problem.
He said the association had provided jobs to thousands of youths in the state and contributed tremendously to food security, but there are problems that pose danger to the business and government had not done anything to save it.
The Secretary pointed out that after painstaking efforts to continue with the business without increasing the price of bread, despite the hike in the price of flour, the market forces have compelled the association to take the decision, otherwise its members would always be at a loss.
He disclosed that the association had tried severally to meet with the managements of the flour companies in a bid to bring down the price, but their efforts were unsuccessful as the mills cited COVID-19 as the reason why the meeting could not hold.
The Secretary wondered why the price of flour was N9, 000 from late 2019 and early 2020 when the dollar exchange rate was N400 or above, but it has now reached over N16,000 while the dollar rate is still not more than N500.
He said IRS flour,made by BUA, had been scarce in the market, and called on the Company to reduce the price of flour product, the Secretary also called on the Chairman of the Group to improve the supply of product in order to be available at market.
“I want to draw the attention of tge Chairman to consider the plight of the masses and reduce the price of the flour. He should also open door for us, the bread bakers to be doing business directly with his company.
The Secretary however said after holding a general meeting, the association directed its members to meet with the grassroot bakers in ten days time in a bid to come up with a unified price increment that would not have negative impact on the populace in the state.
Abdullahi appealed to the government to look into the flour milling industry because, according to him, Nigeria exports wheat more than rice, noting that the employment opportunity created in the sector is much just higher.
In his part, a baker, Abubakar Bello Ja’en, said the business is encountering a number of problems, majorly the increase in the price of flour.
He disclosed that the association had informed them that there would be no strike, but they must increase the price of the bread in order to save their businesses.