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April 23, 2024
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Bread no longer affordable, FCT residents lament

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By Okeoghene Akubuike

With the continuous increase in the price of bread, many residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) say they are struggling to keep up with the cost of the staple food.

The residents, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, pleaded for the government’s intervention.

They expressed concern that bread is slowly becoming a luxury item rather than a basic necessity.

The latest National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Food Price Report for February  2024, said the average price of 500g sliced bread increased by 89.48 per cent on a year-on-year basis from  N553.03 recorded in February 2023 to N1,047.86 in February 2024.

While the report said on a month-on-month basis, 500g sliced bread increased by 15.91 per cent from  N904.02 recorded in January 2024.

Mr Sumaila Yusuf, a civil servant, said it had become difficult to buy bread because of the increase in price .

“ It has been tough buying and consuming bread these days.

“As a matter of fact, bread is now treated on the list of special foods that we go for occasionally and it is no longer a routine item that must be on the shelf at all times.

“Sometimes I ponder on why I should keep consuming bread with an almost daily increase in the prices of loaves.

“I can recall that this time last year, I was buying Imperial Bread for N800 but it was sold for N1400 about a month ago when I last bought it.

“Also, Delight Bread small loaf was N600 but it is now  N1, 200. I can go on and on. The government really needs to intervene and help regulate the price,” he said.

Mrs Biodun Ajakaiye,  a businesswoman, said the increase in the price of bread had led to a reduction in its consumption in her house.

“I used to buy two family loaves for my family of six and we used to eat bread twice a week but with the increase we now eat bread once a month.

“The last bread I bought was N1, 700.  So two loaves for my family will be N3400. How can we spend that amount on only bread twice a week?

“We just had to advise ourselves and replace eating bread with Akamu and  Akara,” she said.

Mrs Ella Anyanwu,  a civil servant, said the increase in bread price had affected her family’s consumption of it.

Anyanwu also said in spite of the increase, the quantity and quality of some bread had reduced and she called on the government to intervene.

“The price of bread increases geometrically and the quality and quantity also reduce daily. Some are not properly baked due to the high cost of baking items hence they spoil easily.

“A loaf of bread that was being sold between N950 to N1,000 early this year, increased to N1,300 then to N1,600 currently making affordability very difficult because one needs to buy like three loaves to meet the needs of my family.

“If bread that is a common food for a common man can be so expensive, how can Nigerians survive in this harsh economic situation?

“Therefore, the government should endeavor to look into the cause of its increasing cost as well as other food items and intervene to cushion the effect,” she said.

A trader, Musa Ahmed,  said he still ate bread but went for the smaller sizes because of the price increase.

According to him, I used to buy a loaf of N500 bread but it is now N1,000, so I  now buy the  N400 loaf which used to be N300, and manage myself.

Peace Samuel, a manager of one of the big bakeries in Abuja, attributed the increasing cost of bread to several factors, including the Ukraine war, foreign exchange increase, and inflation in the country.

“ Two to three months ago, our  900g family loaf was supplied to distributors at a rate of N930, while it was sold to final consumers at N1,100.

“But presently, the same loaf is supplied to distributors at N1,100 and sold to final consumers at N1,300.

“Similarly, the 1,200g Jumbo loaf that was sold to final consumers at N1,200 is now being sold for N1,600.”

Samuel, however, said in spite of the drop in dollar, the cost of raw materials such as flour and others used to make bread was still on the rise.

“As of March 22, the price of flour has witnessed another increase of between N1,500 to N2,000, depending on the brand.

“This continuous surge in prices has led to many bakeries shutting down.”

She also said that suppliers sometimes create artificial scarcity and increase prices, knowing that customers have no choice but to buy.

According to her, this is harming the bakery business, and many people are losing their jobs.

Samuel recalled how the government’s intervention helped with the reduction in prices of flour when the Master Bakers Association went on a nationwide strike in February.

“When we went on the strike, the government intervened to an extent and the price of 50kg flour was reduced immediately from  N55,000 to N50,000.

“However, the price has gone up again, ranging from N53,500 to N57,000, depending on the brand.

“The government needs to understand that the continuous rise in the cost of bread is creating a ripple effect that is affecting the entire economy, therefore, the government really needs to intervene,” she said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams

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