The expected increase in the price of bread in Nigeria has drawn criticism from various quarters. To the residents of Kano State, who spoke to HumAngle, the plan is inconsiderate and bakers in the country ought to seek other means of guaranteeing profits.
Last week, the Premium Bread Makers Association of Nigeria (PBAN) and Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) complained about the high costs of baking ingredients, which they say have nearly caused the “wipeout of the bread-making industry”.
“Prices of all ingredients used for baking are too high, especially flour and sugar. Between March and September, there has been a monthly addition of N500 on a bag of flour and bakers have been bearing the additional cost,” said Raji Omotunde, Lagos State Chapter Chairman of AMBCN.
He added that the current price is no longer profitable and the association’s leadership has said a 50 per cent increase in the retail prices of bread and other baked products cannot be avoided unless the government comes to their rescue.
“There is a need for government intervention to reduce the prices, such as diesel, flour, sugar and other bakery materials,” appealed Mira Musa, AMBCN’s spokesman in Abuja.
In a recent interview with HumAngle, Kano-based bakers and businessmen operating in the industry corroborated the position of the national groups.
Husaini Abdullahi, Managing Director of Matasa Bread in Danzaki, Gezawa Local Government Area, also blamed the planned increase on the rising costs of flour, sugar, and similar ingredients.
“Kano state government has given a stipulated price for sugar but marketers increased the price. Initially, we purchased flour at N10,000 but now the price is N13,300, while sugar is 18,200,” he explained. “Our challenge now is there is no static price, it might inflate today and deflate tomorrow.”
Abdullahi added that while some states such as Jigawa, Sokoto, and Kebbi have increased bread prices, no such directive had been given yet in Kano.
Manager of B.A.G (Bala Ali Gezawa) Bread in the same Local Government Area, Yahaya Garba, said not only has his company lost patronage, but profit had also reduced significantly.
According to Janisu Muazu, managing director of Gidauniya Bread, just last the price of flour was N9,500, but it has now increased to N13,200. Similarly, the prices of sugar and yeast have increased respectively from N13,000 to N17,500 and N15,000.
“With the inflation of products, we decided to increase the price of our bread because every business is based on profit,” he said. “Diesel is used for the production of bread and the hike in fuel price has also negatively affected our production.”
Residents of Kano, however, criticised the hike and described the development as unbearable.
Habeeb Abubakar Ishaq, a businessman who lives in Tarauni, said the proposed 50 per cent increase is both ill-advised and extremely inconsiderate.
“As a married man, I consider bread a very essential food for breakfast and sometimes casual, late-night supper. It is also a commonly sighted meal at our hospitals because it is light, chewable, and easily digestible,” he observed.
“Presently, Nigeria is going through a rough patch of exorbitantly high costs of groceries and utility bills. The last thing people will expect is yet another increase in the price of bread, which serves as an essential source of breakfast for the majority of homes.”
He urged the business owners to be dynamic and creative in how they react to the challenges so as to stay afloat without inconveniencing their customers.
“After all, the reasons they claim are responsible for the planned increase are relative increases in the cost of raw materials, petrol, as well as electricity tariff. It is, however, important to note that these increases have equally affected the consumers.”
He encouraged the bakers to improvise and “consider maybe a more reasonable percentage, say a 10 per cent increase”.
Murtala Hamisu Kuka, a secondary school teacher at Gezawa, said an increase in the price of bread will definitely affect the common man, especially since not everyone could afford three square meals a day.
“Many people take only tea and bread because it is the only food they can afford. So if the price of bread increases, tell me what will be the result?” he asked. “As a father of three, I might as well say bye-bye to tea and bread because, to be sincere, I cannot afford it.”
“I felt bad with this increment honestly. Looking at the situation so far things are getting out of hand and people are finding it difficult to bear. If we continue to go this way, every other thing will also go higher,” said Zahraddeen El-Yaqub, a reporter at Daily Focus, based in Dala.
“I think this is an issue of national concern. This government has to do something to end these increments. What do you think we can get at an affordable rate now? Fuel, electricity, foodstuff are going higher and many cannot get what to eat. Something has to be done by the government, marketers, and other stakeholders involved,” he concluded.
The principal of Fatima Mahmud College in Kumbotso, Musa Muhammad Dona, described bread as a life saver for the common man and said a hike in price would lead to great hardship.
“It is not going to be funny at all,” he stressed. “People are already suffering, some can’t even afford to eat a decent meal daily, and nothing seems to be working good.”
He added, “Ask 75 per cent of the Nigerian masses about this development; the majority of them don’t even know there was any hike in bread price. This is because, even before the increase, they could not afford it.
“The greed of bakers will surely swallow them. I once worked with a bakery and am very close to the management. I very well know the double if not triple profit they are making. They have no reason to increase this price if they are at all grateful.”