President of the Premium Bread Makers Association of Nigeria (PBAN), Emmanuel Onuorah, has revealed that more than 26,000 bread factories have shut down across Nigeria in the last four years.
Onuorah, while speaking on Arise Television on Tuesday said the doubling of cost of bread production is the primary cause of job losses in the industry.
According to him, his own company has laid off workers in the past four years adding that PBAN membership has dropped from 36,000 in 2017 to less than 10,000.
“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 labourer deserves his wages. That is for me.
“So many have shut down. Four years ago, we had about 36,000 members when we started this association. Today, it is less than 10,000 across Nigeria and what are you having? It is a series of job losses across the line.”
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The president also blamed government taxes which include the 30 per cent wheat levy, 15 per cent for wheat development levy, while 15 per cent is on duty.
He furthered 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, but nothing had been done by the Nigerian government to stabilize the price of wheat.
His words, “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 after which the money generated will be used.
“We have been begging the FG, we have written for 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 stabilise to a reasonable extent the price of wheat coming into Nigeria. But it is just like flogging a dead horse. Nobody listens.”
via: Information Nigeria
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