No fewer than 40 bakeries have closed shop in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), over cost of production and multiple taxation and hike in electricity tariff, among others.
Some of the bakeries visited by NAN were not opened for business due to operational cost and multiple taxation by some government agencies.
Among the bakeries that have closed shop are Abumme bakery Ltd. Lugbe, Airport Road, Hamdala Bakery, Kuje, Harmony Bite Bakery, Karu, Doweey Delight Bakery Ltd, Kubwa.
Others include Merit Baker, Mpape, Funez Baker, Orozo, Slyz Bakery, Wuse Zone 2, among others.
Ishaq Abdulraheem, the Chairman, Abuja Master Bakers, FCT said that it was becoming increasingly disturbing that bakeries in Abuja could no longer cope with the high cost of production.
He said that most members had lost their means of livelihood, while workers had been out of job due to the shutdown.
He called on the federal government to quickly intervene and check agencies of government frustrating bakery business.
He identified some of the agencies to include National Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), National Environmental Standards and Regulations, Enforcement Agency (NESREA).
He said that the six Area Councils in FCT had also made business very unpleasant and difficult for bakeries with huge taxes and tenement rates.
An Abuja baker, Nuhu Musa of Hamdala Bakery, Kuje, FCT appealed to the government to regulate the activities of these agencies so as to reduce the different taxes they imposed on bakers.
Mr Musa said many bakeries were struggling to survive due to the high cost of production.
“We want the government to regulate these agencies so that our production process will be easy.
“These taxation are negatively impacting our business to the extent that many of us have closed down.
“This is also affecting employment as many bakery workers are out of work presently and you know the effect of that on the society; some will turn to criminality,’’ he said.
Mr Musa said for instance, NAFDAC will come to their bakeries to check for certificates, while SON will come for the registration of the product.
“How much are we making to warrant all these checks and payments,’’ he said.
Some of the Abuja residents who spoke with NAN decried the high cost of bread in the market, stressing that bread was gradually becoming the food for the rich.
Julius Anthony, a resident, said that some of the breads he usually bought for N500 per loaf now cost as much as N1,000.
Aisha Danjuma, another resident of FCT called on the government to immediately intervene over the high cost of bread, adding “bread is the food for the masses and must not be taken away from them.”
Source: Peoples Gazette.