Premium Bread Makers Association of Nigeria, (PBAN), has lamented how no fewer than 26,000 of its members have shut down their bakeries under the present administration in Nigeria.
PBAN’s President, Emmanuel Onuarah, made the disclosure in an interview on Arise Tv, monitored by THE WHISTLER.
He said the cost of making bread which has more than doubled has also led to the layoff of thousands of workers.
According to Onuarah, considering the difficulties in the industry, his company has laid off 130 workers in the last four years. “In my factory, I used to have about 180 workers and we were doing two shifts, today, we have about 50 workers. That is how it is in the industry.
“I have laid off about a hundred and you can see the job losses. Just imagine that you don’t want to do that but you are forced to do that. At the end of the day, you must pay. A laborer deserves his wages. That is for me.
“So many have shut down. Four years ago, when we started this association, we had about 36,000 members. Today, it is less than 10,000 across Nigeria and what are you having? It is a series of job losses across the line,” he added.
He further disclosed that out of the 30 per cent wheat levy, 15 per cent is for wheat development, while 15 per cent is on duty, adding that the industry players have written several times to the Federal Government to remove the 15 per cent development levy which has outlived its usefulness; noting that nothing has been done by the Nigerian government to stabilize the price of wheat.
“Those millers that bring in the wheat from Ukraine, the US, and other places, they pay 30 per cent on wheat import. There is a 15 per cent wheat development levy. It was supposed to be a stopgap.
“It started in June 2012 and it hasn’t gone away. For the Federal Government, it is a revenue stream that is not a good one. You can’t generate revenue from everything. It is supposed to be for two years or thereabout.
“We have been begging the FG, we have written to them to remove the 15 per cent development levy which has outlived its usefulness so that we can have some cushion for those people bringing in wheat.
“With that, you can stabilize to a reasonable extent the price of wheat coming into Nigeria. But it is just like flogging a dead horse. Nobody listens,” he added.
PBAN also said about 54 per cent cost of making a loaf of bread comes from wheat, milk constitutes 17.46 per cent, sugar 13.64 per cent, and yeast accounts for 3.82 per cent of the cost.
Recall that the levy on wheat was introduced to discourage import. However, Nigeria’s wheat metrics according to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture showed that local production in 2020 was 420,000 metric tons (MT), while imports were 6.5 million MT.
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