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Nigeria: Bread Scarcity Rages As Bakers Strike in Lagos, Abuja Over Price Hikes

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Post Covid-19 Economy in Nigeria Sees Scarcity And Price hike in Bread Production

Residents of Abuja and Lagos are lamenting the increased scarcity in bread and a hike in its price as bakers went on strike to protest the hike in price of flour and other ingredients.

“I have asked around for bread but I can’t find any, and this is strange,” said Amos Idoko, a resident of Utako area in Abuja.

The strike affected roadside kiosk operations and families who rely on bread for a breakfast staple with many running out of bread last weekend across some communities surveyed in the FCT, Nasarawa and Niger state.

Some of the bakers said the strike started Friday and may end today, but there will be a hike in the price of bread.

A leader of the bakers group in the FCT and an official of Zuma Bread in Abuja, Abdullahi Muhammed, said the strike action was to protest the hike of flour and other ingredients for bread making.

Daily Trust reported exclusively recently that foreign-dominated flour millers have increased the price of flour for more than three times between March and August 2020, even with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For instance, a bag of wheat flour sold between N10,000 and N12,000 last year now sells for N14,000,” he said

“Bag of sugar sold for about N11,000 last year now sells at N18,000. A 25-litre cooking oil previously N8,000 is now N15,000,” he said.

A dealer in wheat flour and baking ingredients in Kubwa – Abuja, Shehu Lawan, said dealers now rely on the parallel market to source for forex instead of the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN), making it difficult for them to maintain previous prices.

Lawan also said other issues that affect cost in bakery commodities, include government tax increment, cost of transport, among others.

In Lagos, Mr Ajao Ismail, who works at Royal Bite bakery in Palm Avenue of Mushin, said there was an earlier scarcity of bread in Lagos but that most bakers have resumed operations as of Sunday evening but with the bread price increasing.

“The market is dull at the moment because we have lots of bread that we have not sold. When there was scarcity, the demand was higher than the supply, now that most of the bakers are no longer on strike, there is more bread. People are reacting to the price.”

Ajao explained that the price of bread can return to how it was pre-COVID provided the government intervenes.

“If the government can work towards ensuring the price of flour, sugar, milk and butter is reduced to what it was in January 2020, we promise to reverse the price of bread to what it was.

“Bread now sold for N300/350 will return to N250 and the one sold for N500 will return to N400,” she noted.

The bakers had shut down for a number of days last week in Lagos. Premium Bread makers Association of Nigeria (PBAN) and Association of Master Bakers and Caterers Association of Nigeria (AMBAN) in briefing said the prices of ingredients

The spokesperson of PBAN, Emmanuel Onuoha, confirmed the scarcity. “If we don’t do this, people will think it is their right to buy cheap bread,” he said, adding that bakers now run at a loss even as most of them could no longer meet their loan repayment obligations.

It was also learnt that other states might also embark on the temporary cessation of production in response to the high cost of baking ingredients comprising flour, sugar, margarine, among others.

Economy

Nigeria Mulls Selling Electricity to Republic of Chad

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power

Nigeria Considers Selling Electricity to the Republic of Chad

The Federal Government is presently considering selling electricity to the Republic of Chad after a request was made by the neigbouring nation.

The federal government-owned Transmission Company of Nigeria disclosed this on Sunday, adding that a meeting was held last week to discuss the possibilities of plugging the Republic of Chad to the nation’s grid.

Nigeria presently exports electricity to three neighbouring nations, Benin, Togo and the Republic of Niger despite struggling with power supply at home and failed to up its power generation more than the current level of 3,000 -4,500 megawatts in recent years.

On Sunday, the total power generated declined to 3,474.5MW as of 6am, down from 3,776.5MW on Saturday, according to the latest data from the Nigerian Electricity System Operator.

The total number of idle plants rose from 8 on Saturday to 11 on Sunday. These idle plants were Geregu II, Sapele II, Alaoji, Olorunsogo II, Omotosho II, Ihovbor, Gbarain, Ibom Power, AES, ASCO and Trans-Amadi.

A total of twenty-seven plants were presently connected to the national grid, which is being managed by the TCN.

Meeting between Ministry of Power, TCN, and the Chadian Minister of Energy, Mrs Ramatou Mahamat Houtouin, to discuss the possibilities of connecting the Republic of Chad to the Nigerian national grid [was held] on Wednesday, October 21, 2020,” the TCN said on its Twitter handle on Sunday, alongside pictures of the meeting.

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Economy

Nigerians Turned to Chinese Products as Cost of US Goods Surged Amid Two Currency Devaluations this Year Alone

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Nigeria Imports More of Chinese Products in Second Quarter

The rising cost of American imports has forced importers and many households in Nigeria to embrace Chinese products as they struggle to adjust to two currency devaluations in one single year.

A recent report from the National Bureau of Statitics (NBS) shows that 31.41 percent of goods imported into the country in the second quarter were from China.

In the report titled ‘Foreign trade in goods statistics’ for second quarter of 2020, Spain led Nigeria’s exported nations for goods.

The report read in part, “Nigeria’s imports, by country of origin, shows goods were imported mainly from China (N1.26tn or 31.41 per cent), United States (N428.9bn or 10.66 per cent), India (N322.3bn or 8.01 per cent), and the Netherlands (N202.9bn or 5.04 per cent) respectively.

“The value of exports in Q2, 2020 stood at N2.22tn, a decrease of 45.64 per cent compared to Q1, 2020 and 51.73 per cent compared to Q2, 2019.

“The year to date export amounted to N6.3tn, representing a 31 per cent decline compared to 2019.

“Exports by section revealed that mineral products accounted for the largest portion of exports, amounting to N1.87tn or 84.35 per cent, mainly due to the crude oil component.”

The increase in Chinese import is likely due to the plunge in Naira against the US dollar and the general dollar scarcity that prevent importers from accessing the greenback. This, coupled with two devaluations of the local currency forced many businesses and mini-importers to embrace Yuan goods against the usual US dollar.

Further breakdown of the report showed that Nigeria export mostly to Europe with goods valued at N976.5 billion or 44 per cent exported in the second quarter. Asia followed with goods worth N734.1 billion or 33.08 per cent.

While African nations accounted for N401.4 billion or 18.1 per cent, America received N105.8 billion or 4.8 per cent export goods and Oceania imported N1.7 billion or 0.08 per cent from Nigeria during the period under review.

Within Africa, Nigeria exports goods valued at N149.3 billion to ECOWAS member nations.

While all regions recorded declines in the value of exported goods during the quarter, China and Japan recorded increased in export activity.

The NBS stated, “Exports by country of destination showed that Nigeria exported goods to Spain valued at (N310.8bn or 14 per cent), Netherlands (N243.7bn or 10.98 per cent), China (N220.4bn or 9.9 per cent), India (N195.6bn or 8.8 per cent) and South Africa (N172.2 or 7.7 per cent).

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Economy

FG Launches New N25bn Youth Fund to Address Some of the Concerns Raised by #EndSARS Protesters

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Zainab Ahmed

FG Introduces N25 Billion Youth Fund

The Federal Government has introduced a new N25 billion youth fund to address some of the issues raised by the Nigerian youths who took to the street to demand good governance, among others.

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, disclosed this at a stakeholder meeting held with the Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Dr. Hadiza Balarabe, in Kaduna.

Ahmed said the fund would be increased from N25 billion to N75 billion within three years to ensure new job creation for the youths.

The meeting was constituted as part of the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari to ministers and governors to dialogue with stakeholders on some of the concerns raised by #EndSARS protesters.

The finance minister said the aim was to support the Nigerian youths to actualise their innovative and entrepreneurial minds in business and general development of the nation.

On her part, Balarabe said the essence of the meeting was to brainstorm on how to tackle security challenges faced during the #EndSARS protests.

Dr Mohammad Abubakar, the Minister of Environment, who was also at the meeting, reiterated Federal Government’s commitment to people-friendly policies and reforms.

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