Bakers to begin nationwide strike over high production cost

The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) has said it would commence a nationwide strike from February 27 should the Federal government refuse to implement the agreement it entered into with the association in 2020.

The Kogi State chairman of AMBCN, Adeniyi Gabriel, while speaking to newsmen on Tuesday, February 13, said the notice was contained in a joint statement by the national president of the association, Mansur Umar, and the national secretary, Jude Okafor.

Gabriel said the organisation was shutting down due to the significant rise in prices of baking materials, including flour, sugar, yeast, vegetable oil, and fuel such as petrol and diesel, triggered by subsidy removal and forex deregulation, alongside multiple taxation imposed by Federal Government agencies. 

He requested the prompt execution of financial aid packages for bakers, pledged by the Federal Government as part of post-COVID-19 support initiatives for small and medium enterprises.

The association also added that multiple taxations from several federal, state, and local government agencies levied on the bakers and hikes in business activities in Nigeria were among the reasons for the impending strike action.

The statement partly read, “The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria have critically accessed the state of our business operation, consequently demand the liberalisation of flour and sugar importation, reduction or total removal of import duties on major baking materials such as flour, sugar, butter, yeast etc as applicable to other commodities as have recently been done by the Federal Government and provision of concessionary forex exchange to flour millers and other stakeholders as well as reduction of tariff on imported wheat and sugar.”

Other demands by the association include the development of cultivation and processing of wheat and sugar cane in Nigeria and the removal of multiple taxation at all government levels.

The association also called for the setting up of a price control and monitoring committee and other conditions that would enhance the ease of doing business in the country.

The ICIR reports that there has been an astronomical increase in the price of goods since President Bola Tinubu announced the removal of the fuel subsidy on May 29, 2023, the day he took over power.

Tinubu’s declaration immediately led to fuel queues as many retailers shut their filling stations, hoarding their stock and creating scarcity with a view to hiking fares later.




     

     

    Two days later, the Nigeria National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCLtd) officially increased the pump price of petrol by over 200 per cent.

    The NNPCL, in a template sent to marketers, confirmed the astronomical rise in the pump price of the product, with the minimum being the N488 per litre obtainable in Lagos, while it would be as high as N557 per litre in Maiduguri.

    The fuel pump price has since increased, leading to a sharp rise in the cost of transportation on the different routes as commercial cab drivers transfer the additional cost of petrol on passengers.       

    Although one of the ways to cushion the effect of fuel subsidy removal by the Federal Government was the disbursement of N5 billion in financial support to each of the country’s 36 states, many Nigerians have yet to feel the impact.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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