NIGERIA – The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) on January 14, staged a peaceful nationwide protest over the rising cost of production in the baking sector.

The AMBCN demonstration followed a letter addressed to Nyesom Wike, minister of the federal capital territory (FCT), on February 12, 2023, stating that the group’s protest would be at all state government houses and the national assembly.

The association said the protest was to “drive home demands to save the baking industry from the imminent collapse which may add to the heightened security situation of our dear country”.

The AMBCN had, on February 10, also announced plans to embark on a nationwide strike from February 27 if the federal government fails to meet their demands.

According to the association, the decision to withdraw services stems from the rising costs of essential baking materials, including flour, sugar, yeast, vegetable oil, petrol, and diesel.

They also expressed concern over multiple taxations from various government agencies, as well as escalating business costs within Nigeria.

The AMBCN have therefore appealed to the government for the liberalisation of flour and sugar importation, a reduction or total removal of import duties on major baking materials, and provision of concessionary foreign exchange (FX) to flour millers and stakeholders.

Other demands include a temporary suspension of all forms of taxation on the bakery industry at the federal, state, and local government levels; a reduction in tariff on imported wheat and sugar.

This comes barely a week after hundreds of producers of local bread, popularly known as Gurasa, protested the rise in price of flour in the country saying it is threatening their business.

In recent weeks, there have been growing concerns over the worsening living conditions in Nigeria, as the prices of goods and services continue to rise astronomically, with inflation surging to nearly 30% amid worsening insecurity in major food regions.

The federal government, on February 13, 2024, said it would set up a commodity board to regulate the soaring prices of food in the country.

This was after a federal high court in Lagos ordered the government on February 7, 2024, to fix the prices of goods and petroleum products within seven days.

In the meantime, AMBCN believes that meeting their demands will not only mitigate the adverse effects of rising costs but also enhance the ease of doing business in the country.

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