The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) has threatened to withdraw their services across the country as from today.
Their grouse: increases in the prices of bakery materials, high cost of diesel and other unresolved issues. The association had, on June 25, 2022, threatened to withdraw their services nationwide, citing a hike in the price of bakery materials, government’s insensitivity to the plight of bakers which they said has adversely affected their businesses. The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Chairman of AMBCN, Ishaq Adbulraheem, who announced this while speaking with The Nation yesterday, said the withdrawal of services is premised on the cost of flour, sugar and other materials used in the bakery business.
The union leader said the prices have soared beyond the reach of many bakers. Abdulraheem, who said the regulatory agencies charge members outrageous levies, added that efforts to get the government’s intervention in the matter had been unsuccessful. The AMBCN chairman said there had been no positive response from the concerned ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government on the lingering issues.
He said: “We are withdrawing our services nationwide. We expect government’s response so that we can review whatever we are doing. The high cost of ingredients, rate at which we are buying diesel – which is N880 per litre in the FCT – and the issue of cassava initiative that the Federal Government started so that we can move forward and save the economy are among the major issues.
“We are the second largest employers of labour in the country. But we are subjected to so many issues, not only the price increase. There is the issue of our regulatory agencies. There are issues of duplications in the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and the rate at which the payment for registration is going up.
“We are paying too much. The registration fee with NAFDAC, which was initially N2,500, increased to N35,00 and now to N100,000. There is no ease of doing business. All the fees have tripled with all regulatory agencies. They said we must register with the two agencies. The government should address this so we can move forward.”
Also, the Managing Director of NEXTER Bakery in Abuja, Adewumi Bukola, urged the Federal Government to urgently address the challenges facing the bakers to enable them render their services to their customers. “The government should cut relevant taxes and check the ever-increasing exchange rate of foreign currencies. We are not embarking on the measure to the detriment of our customers, but to assist them and enhance our businesses. We can’t bear it anymore. The last time, we did a little increment with the new prices of raw materials. We can’t continue to remain in business because customers won’t be able to afford bread if we keep increasing the prices.”