BEIRUT – Bakery owners gathered outside the Economy Ministry Wednesday at the invitation of the Federation of Bakeries Syndicates to demand an adjustment in the price of bread amid the devaluation of the Lebanese lira on the black market.
Here’s what we know:
• Present at the sit-in was the Vice President of the syndicate, Ali Ibrahim, who spoke about “the suffering experienced by the bakers… especially since 75 percent of raw materials used in bread production are paid [for] in dollars in addition to maintenance and spare parts.”
• "We have become on the brink of bankruptcy because a tariff for bread was not issued by the Ministry of Economy and Trade,” he said, noting that the devaluation of the lira and rise in fuel prices has driven up operating costs for bakeries. “Why not adjust the price of a bundle of bread?” he asked.
• He stressed that bakers “want to issue a fair tariff that enables them to continue work and produce [bread] without obstacles. Note that we suffer from a shortage of subsidized flour.”
• The Bakery Workers Union in Beirut and Mount Lebanon issued a statement calling on the governor of the Banque du Liban to stop subsidizing flour that can’t be used for local bread production, and asked the Economy Ministry to indicate each bakery’s share of subsidized flour and for stricter enforcement against violators. In addition, they asked to be given a seat at the table on any committee formed to study the cost of bread or a potential price increase.