More than 40 bakeries in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have ceased operations.
In an interview with NAN, business owners attributed the shutdown to high cost of production, multiple taxations by government agencies, increased electricity tariffs, among other things.
According to NAN, some of the bakeries are Abumme Bakery Ltd, Lugbe, Airport Road; Hamdala Bakery, Kuje; Harmony Bite Bakery; Karu and Doweey Delight Bakery Ltd, Kubwa.
Others include Merit Bakery, Mpape; Funez Bakery, Orozo; Slyz Bakery, Wuse Zone 2, among others.
Ishaq Abdulraheem, President of the Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN), Abuja chapter, said it is becoming increasingly worrying that bakeries in Abuja can no longer afford the high production costs.
Abdulraheem said most members had lost their livelihoods, while workers were out of work due to the shutdown.
He called on the federal government to step in quickly and vet agencies that allegedly frustrated the baking industry.
He said some of the agencies include the National Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), National Environmental Standards and Regulations, Enforcement Agency (NESREA).
The AMBCN President also claimed that the six regional councils of FCT have made business unpleasant for bakeries due to huge taxes and occupancy rates.
Also speaking, Nuhu Musa, a baker in Abuja, called on the government to regulate the activities of its agencies to reduce the various taxes imposed on bakers.
Musa said many bakeries are struggling to survive due to the high cost of production.
“We want the government to regulate these agencies so that our production process is easy,” Musa said.
“These taxes are impacting our business as many of us have closed.
“It also affects employment, as many bakers are currently unemployed and you know the effect on society; some will turn to crime.
According to Musa, NAFDAC visits their bakeries to verify certificates, while SON comes for product registration.
“How much are we earning to justify all these checks and payments?” He asked.
Meanwhile, some Abuja residents who spoke with NAN denounced the high cost of bread in the market, saying bread was gradually becoming the food of the rich.
Resident Julius Anthony said the different types of bread he used to buy for 500 Naira per loaf now cost up to 1,000 Naira.
Aisha Danjuma, another resident, called on the government to intervene immediately over the high cost of bread.
TheCable had reported that bakeries have threatened to embark on a two-week nationwide strike due to rising prices for baking materials, federal government neglect and regulatory gouging.