By Mike Adeyemi
The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN), Kwara Chapter has concluded plans to embark on indefinite strike next month, National Pilot has learnt.
The Chairman of the association, Abdulfatai Alaba stated this on Saturday while answering questions from our reporter in his office.
According to him, “the reason Kwara Master Bakers have not increased the bread prices was as a result of the pledge made by Federal Government to look into the high cost of baking items.
“All South-West Master Bakers through our national body met with the Federal Government and they promised us that after Sallah there would be changes in the price of materials we use.
” That is why up till now , Kwara bakers haven’t increased prices of bread. If we don’t see any changes by August as pledged by the Federal Government, we will increase bread prices, ” Alaba affirmed.
He added that bakers across some Local Government Areas of Kwara State have increased prices of bread in their various localities as a result of high cost of transportation of baking materials.
“Bakers across the state were compelled to increase the prices of bread as a result of high cost of flour to their domains. But those of us in the state capital are yet to do so.
“The prices of baking ingredients have increased due to the economic situation in the country and manufacturers are running at a loss.
“But as it is, baking bread and selling at the current price is no longer profitable. We have been appealing to the millers but they are groaning about foreign exchange. The only option left for us if government fails to do something about the situation is to embark on indefinite strike next month, ” he stressed.
Alaba further disclosed that a bag of flour which was sold for N15,000 now sells for N16, 000. Yeast which was N15,000 before is now N18,000. Also, a bag of sugar now sells between N19, 800 and N21,000 depending on bargaining power against the former price of N16, 000.
“We have appealed to flour millers and other people involved in the selling of baking materials to reduce their prices but they have not responded. It was on that note we pleaded with Federal Government to intervene in this matter by engaging the flour millers and baking material sellers which they promised to do.
“It is saddening that about 35 per cent of bakers in Kwara State have gone bankrupt as a result of high production cost which is killing bakery business in the state,” he noted.
Alaba however urged the people of Kwara State to bear with the association in case the union goes on strike by August.
“We want Kwarans to co-operate with us in this struggle. The proposed strike is not meant to bring hardship on our esteemed customers. Our demands have not been met overtime as many bakery have closed in Ilorin. We are running at a loss,” he said.