Bakers under the auspices of the Premium Breadmakers Association of Nigeria (PBAN), have revealed that the government needs to ensure that the duty millers pay on wheat imports, which is 30% is either frozen or removed. This, they said is part of their conditions to reduce bread prices across the country.
In an interview where this submission was made, Emmanuel Onuorah, the President of PBAN, said wheat is part of the basic ingredients used in baking bread, adding that the duty paid to import it is part of the reasons for the soaring prices of bread.
“It is humongous because nobody does that anywhere in the world. The Federal Government must support small businesses through the Bank of Industry’s direct intervention from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and help in terms of soft loans and grants. That will go a long way,” he explained.
Defending why bread prices have increased by at least 20% in recent months, Onuorah stated that “ordinarily, if we want to pass on the cost, sliced bread should be selling for a thousand naira now, but we still have some that go for N500, N550, N600, N650, and N700, depending on the ingredients used to bake it.
We cover practically all strata of society. There is a nexus between increased prices and reduced sales, and it is a negative nexus. The moment prices are spiraling, sales drop. It does not benefit us in any way because once the price increases, it affects sales.”
The PBAN president, however, warned that considering the current realities, bread prices may increase further.
“The prices will keep going up because it is a function of ‘garbage in, garbage out’. It is what we buy that we sell. One cannot buy flour that used to be N10,300 for N29,000, and sell the finished products at the same price. If the prices of raw materials keep soaring, one would have to keep increasing price to be competitive, albeit not arbitrarily, but in a way that one will be able to break even,” he explained.