By CHUKWUEMEKA OPARA
ABAKALIKI- The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN), South East chapter will withdraw its services from July 13, as directed by its national body.
The Zonal Chairman of the association, Chief Dominic Nwibe made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abakaliki.
NAN reports that on June 26, National President of AMBCN , Malam Mansur Umar said members would begin a two-week strike from July 13, citing increase in prices of bakery materials.
“We had a zonal meeting in Abakaliki and decided to follow the directive which is supposed to last for two weeks.
“A bag of baking flour which hitherto cost N25,000 presently cost N28,000 and is is worrisome that it will keep increasing.
“A bag of sugar which hitherto cost N9,000 presently cost N30,000 while 20 litres of groundnut oil costs about N20,000,” he said.
He said that the members felt it was unnecessary to keep increasing the prices of bakery products such as bread at the detriment of customers.
“The customers would feel that we are greedy and we want to let the federal government know that the situation had become unbearable.
“We are asking for the liberalisation of sugar importation process to break the monopoly by two or three firms.
“These firms import sugar and control its price mechanisms as the withdraw of services will make our customers know we are telling the truth on reasons for price increases”.
The zonal chairman regretted that the authorities blamed the high cost of materials on economic effects of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
“We don’t see any justification to this assertion as flour for instance, can be sourced from nearby countries,” he said.
Also speaking, the south east Zonal Secretary of the association, Mr Okey Ezeanata said that bakers have been seriously affected by the development as most of them ‘have closed shops”.
“The market forces have been unfair to us and as the time we increased prices of products in April till present, there have been several changes.
“We urge the federal government to allow mass participation in our materials’ importation process just like in the telecommunication sector,” he said.
NAN reports that the association alleged that the National Wheat Cultivation Committee already constituted is yet to be inaugurated after over one year.
In March, bakers complained that the hike in diesel price and exchange rate volatility caused many of its members across the country to shut down their business operations. (NAN)