Bread price hike looms as bakers decry flour cost
Bakers in the country have lamented the increasing rates of flour, saying they may double the price of loaves.
The President of the Bakers Association of Nigeria, Daud Suleiman, said there was no basis for the continuous increase in the price of flour.
Suleiman who spoke to Punch correspondent on the side-lines of a stakeholders’ meeting in Lagos, called on the Federal Government and Nigerians to prevail on millers to reduce the rates in the interest of the industry.
He said the price of a bag of flour was N10,300 in January, adding that as of last week, flour was being sold for over N20,000.
He said, “The millers always hinge the hike in price on the dollar-naira exchange rate. But most of them have silos and storage capacity that can sustain them for six months. But as soon as there is a little slide in the exchange rate, they increase their prices.
“They should tell us; do they import every day? At least, if you have your storage, when you exhaust that one, you then buy another one and increase. But in a single month, they can inflate the price of flour three times.”
Suleiman, who claimed to have businesses across the African region, said Nigerians were being short-changed by millers, adding that the prices of flour in Gambia, Benin, among others, were far below what obtained in the country.
He insisted that the quality of flour in those countries were also superior to what was being supplied in the country.
“Most of them don’t even have mills; they import. But in Nigeria, we have mills and ours are still more expensive.
The bakers are at the mercy of the millers. The relationship is supposed to be mutually beneficial, but it is typically parasitic,” he stated.
The group’s president said bakers were using firewood instead of burners, to cut costs.
The National Leader of the group, Prince Jacob Adejorin, said many bakers were also being intimidated by certain groups who did not want their views aired, adding that workers in the industry were going through hardship.
“Bakers are in debt and many have stopped working. Many of us are no longer in the business. Some have returned to their villages and others are riding tricycles just to survive. We are suffering in silence,” he added.