By Ogundele Olanrewaju
The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria has threatened to withdraw its services nationwide to protest the incessant increase in the price of flour and other baking materials.
The bakers issued a two-week ultimatum, starting from September 23, for the federal government to address the situation, which they said was killing the industry.
The National President of the association, Alhaji Mansur Umar, issued the warning while briefing newsmen yesterday during their National Executive Council meeting in Abuja.
He said the increasing cost of bakery ingredients, if not checked urgently, may soon drive bakers into extinction.
He said if the federal government failed to address the situation after the expiration of the two-week ultimatum, “we will direct our members to withdraw their services across the country for one week.”
Umar lamented that amid the hike in the price of baking materials and multiple taxes, the National Agency for Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) jerked up its tariff regime, further worsening their plight.
He said the situation had compelled them to increase the prices of their products by 30 per cent across the board.
Umar said the situation had forced some of their members out of business while others are living in debt.
“At this time, most of our baking materials have risen to a level where appropriate bakery products pricing has become a very serious challenge.
“Our plea for the streamlining of our products regulations has not been heeded to, instead NAFDAC tariff regime has once again been jerked up.
“It becomes worrisome if the managers of our economy actually wish the bakery industry to remain or go extinct,” he said.
He however urged members of the association not to relent in their efforts to save the industry from going into extinction.
“We have no other industry than this, so we must fight with all we have to keep the industry alive. Remember, survival is the first instinct of life. We must not behave like dinosaurs that refused to adapt to changes in their environment and are now extinct.
“Arise great master bakers and expeditiously begin the correction of this obvious abnormally, which, if not checked, will drive us into the unemployment market,” he added.