BY ONOME AMUGE
The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) has announced plans to commence an initial two-week nationwide strike from July 13, 2022 in protest against the continuous exploitation by regulatory agencies amid a surge in the price of bakery materials, exacerbated by the federal government’s neglect of the association.
The statement contained in a communiqué, signed by Mansur Umar, national president, following a recent meeting of the AMBCN National Executive Council (NEC), said the cost of flour, sugar and other materials used in bakery business had risen beyond the reach of many bakers, making operations more challenging, while also shrinking operating profits of stakeholders in the businesses.
According to the association, the increase in prices of bakery materials, especially flour and sugar, have reached unprecedented levels, with the cost of flour having risen between N25,000 and N27,500 within the last quarter of the year.
The group also faulted the federal government’s failure to bring to motion the National Wheat Cultivation Committee which was established over a year ago to boost wheat production, adding that agencies such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA) were focused on extorting money from bakers by charging outrageous levies without considering their challenges.
They further noted that efforts to get the government’s intervention in the matter had been unsuccessful, as there had been no positive response from the concerned ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.
“Consequently, the NEC in session resolved that all zones, states, local governments and units of our association should commence full mobilisation of our members nationwide to embark on withdrawal of services starting from Wednesday, July 13, 2022 for an initial period of two weeks,” the communique read in part.
The association, however, enjoined its members to await further directives before commencing the nationwide strike.