Economy

Bakers threaten shutdown as diesel price soars

Bakers under the aegis of Premium BreadMakers Association of Nigeria are mulling a total shutdown of operations, following steady and fast increases in the price of diesel in the past few days.

The association said the continued rise in the price of diesel had made the price of the commodity to be doubled, warning that a total shutdown of operations by break-makers was imminent.

The PBAN President, Emmanuel Onuorah, made the declaration during an interview with our correspondent.

He explained that the diesel prices hikes were taking a serious toll on bread production for its members.

As a result, he called on the Federal Government to urgently accelerate efforts towards tackling the problem to avoid a shutdown of operations by its members.

He said, “This country may collapse on everybody. Industries will shut down operations, and all of us will go down. Imagine the price of diesel going towards N850/litre. Remember, I said wheat is not the problem, and that it is energy that will be the major problem in this Russian-Ukraine war. Almost N850 for a litre of diesel, and they are still increasing it every day.”

“Is it that marketers just brought in this product and this is why they are increasing the price by the day? Our businesses will just begin to shut down one after the other. That’s what I’m contemplating doing now. I will shut down all the bakeries. Diesel is what we use in running our generators, diesel is what we use in running our oven. What we were buying N350 is now about N850 in less than a week.”

Rising prices of crude oil since the Russia-Ukraine war began, coupled with exchange rate instability in Nigeria, among others, had pushed up the prices of refined petroleum products across the country.

However, the price of diesel, which had experienced a near 100 per cent uptick in its price on Tuesday, has continued its upward spike.

The development had made the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria predict hyperinflation in the economy, warned the Federal Government to take vital steps to arrest the situation.

Asked what the implication would portend for the industry if the upward spiral of diesel price continues, Onuorah said the ripple effects would have a major effect on industries across the globe, particularly in Nigeria where there is yet to be laid down measures to cushion the negative consequences of the crude oil hike.

“It’s going to be a major problem. It’s going to have a major ripple effect on industries in Europe and everywhere, and Nigeria’s own will be worse because we don’t have any buffer. We don’t have any fall-back position.”

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