By Godwin Onyemaechi
The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) chapter, has called for the temporary suspension of all government fees, levies and taxes on bread business.
The association, which made this known yesterday after suspending its four-day warning strike, also called for the suspension of duties on importation of bakery equipment and input to ensure business sustainability.
In a statement, its Chairman, Ishaq Abdulraheem and Secretary, Adeyemi Richard, called for the regulation of flour importers and manufacturers to keep pricing of their products within limits just as is done for petroleum products.
While reiterating the need for the reactivation of the cassava bread policy to cushion rising cost of flour globally, it called for a subsidy on flour purchase from major flour manufacturers.
According to the statement, many countries are already introducing other sources to bread production e.g, sweet potato, corn and cassava.
The association further urged the Federal Government to localise industries for production of butter, oils, sugar and other essential ingredients for bread production.
“There should be designation of bakery services as essential and protected services goods thereby rendering the business accessible to banks and financial institutions supported by fiat. A percentage of loans should be directed to bakery services.
“All bread purchases by government agencies such as the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), pilgrimage camps, prisons, Federal Government Colleges and school feeding programs should be in collaboration with registered bakery association members.
“The government should fund the local farming and processing of wheat to combat the dependence on imported wheat.
“These are the measures that will ensure we ultimately stabilise the bread business. If not, it is only a matter of time that we will realise bread will no longer be affordable by the masses.
“There will come a time that our price to stay in business will become too high for ordinary Nigerians to buy,” the association added.
The Nation Online