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Lassa Fever: Bread prices rise sharply in Abia

By Boniface Okoro, Umuahia on 12/03/2016

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The sharp increase in prices of bread in Abia State has been linked to “massive cleaning” of bakeries in the state.

The bakery cleaning exercise, according News Express findings, has been occasioned by the outbreak of Lassa fever in the country.

Investigations revealed that prices of bread prices have shot up by over 50 percent and the few sales outlets and shops which have the product in stock no longer have the variety of bread brands for which they used to be known.

Different loaves of bread which sold for N50, N100, N150, N200 and N300 as at the last week of February now go for N100, N160, N250, N350 and N500 respectively.

A bread seller who spoke under condition of anonymity revealed that they have not received  supplies for about one week..

“This showed that the bakers are on strike, hence, their refusal to supply the product. The lack of supply has affected the quantity of bread in circulation leading to an increase in the prices of available products,” she said.

She lamented that this has equally affected the level of patronage as buyers flatly reject the new prices.

However, the Abia State Chairman, Association of Master Bakers of Nigeria (AMBN), Mr. Perfect Adiele, told newsmen that the association was not responsible for the rise in bread prices.

Adiele denied that his association embarked on any form of strike. He said: “It is true that we are cleaning our factories. It is important that we do that because of the Lassa fever outbreak. We are also using the opportunity to take stock and to consider the cost of bread production.

“And we found that because 90 per cent of what we use to produce bread is imported, the materials have all increased in price, leading to the inability of our members not meeting up with production cost.”

Adiele added: “So we want to use the opportunity to change many things and bring our operations to the required standard, including reviewing the salaries of our workers which has remained low for long.

“What we pay our workers is low. They are human beings and when you check our products, you will also find that the quality has reduced much because of frequent adjustments to meet up,”

The AMBN State Chairman said that the association would use this opportunity to draw a new price list for bread products to enable them and their workers to survive the hard times.

Adiele, however, denied that AMBN colluded with other bakers who were not in the association to stop production of bread in Abia, stressing that “other bakers may have stopped work in solidarity with us.”

Source News Express

Posted 12/03/2016 1:16:49 PM

 

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