National President of Association of Table Water Producers of Nigeria (ATWAP), Mrs Clementina Chinwe Ativie has blamed the increment in the price of Table Water to high cost of production.
For many years, a bottle of Table Water costs N50 in the local market but was recently jerked up as high as between N70 and N100 depending on the location where it was purchased
Speaking at the celebration of 2021 World Water Day in Lagos, Mrs Ativie said that if water producers sell water products based on the input they make during production, many Nigerians would not be able to pay for the products
According to Ativie, the increase in the price of Table Water was caused by many factors,adding that “I can tell you that, if we put the price, considering what it takes us to produce water, 99 per cent of Nigerians wouldn’t be able to to afford it. The same water that we are increasing the price is still N10. Table Water is N70 but the materials we use cost about N480, 000 to produce a tonne before. As I am talking to you now, we buy it N1, 500,000. So tell me why we cannot increase the price. And if you watch, for over 12 years, the price water has remained stable. Every other thing has increased”.
“We have been bridging the gap and making sure we produce. In fact, we have been subsidising the cost. If we sell it according to our producing costs, I don’t think anybody can afford water in this country. This is because it is a humanitarian product”, Ativie said.
She however, averred that water producers are not making profit at all, let alone much profit,disclosing that the business is additive
“Once you are into it, it is difficult for you to leave it. We bring in money from other sources to be able to fund the water business. A lot of us in the business are pulling in money from other businesses to sustain it. Apart from the quacks because they are not adding value. And that is why we are insisting that the regulatory agencies, such as the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) , to carry ATWAP along, so as to help them rid the quacks in the society”.
She also commended the Director General of National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Professor Mojosola Christiana Adeyeye for her commitments in maintaining high quality standards in the water production business.
Mrs Ativie who said that NAFDAC under Prof Adeyeye has encouraged water producers to do the right things without cutting corners also said that that she is equally impressed with Prof Adeyeye’s resolve to work with whoever that is ready to partner with them.
She added that NAFDAC’s approach to its regulatory duties has therefore, spurred ATWAP to be eager in partnership with the agency.
As part of its resolve to work hand in hand with the regulator, Ativie said ATWAP has already flagged-off of self-regulation, ostensibly targeted at joining hands with the regulatory body to achieve DG’s zero tolerance to substandard and low quality products in Nigeria.
With National, Zonal, State and local unit executives the ATWAP President noted that members recognise the fact that regulating water producers /and their activities is a huge task for NAFDAC alone.
She therefore, stated that ATWAP is determined to compliment the efforts of the Agency to achieve the overall result of safeguarding the health of the nation of which water is pivotal.
Explaining the importance of water to the society, Ativie said “already our products are everywhere. There is no place you go in Nigeria and you don’t see sachet or bottled water. Which means someone has taken them to that point. They are products that are not scarce anywhere. That is where we are playing a major role, ensuring that the people get quality water”.
On what she expects from the government, Ativie said “What we are asking the government is to put a regulatory framework that will take in the cooperation of the association, so that we will be able to tell the regulators what and what that is being done at the back. We can’t do much because we are neither the government nor the regulator. NAFDAC is supervising but how many people are they supervising. The number of staff NAFDAC has is not up to 10 per cent of water producers in Nigeria. They are however, trying their best actually but the truth is what happens when they are not there. There are only there in the day or night. So whatever they are doing without carrying us along is as good as doing nothing. This is because, when they leave, the activities they are trying to control continue. If they put us as surveillance and as checks of those people, we will be able to keep them under check and whenever they have any issue with them, we make sure that that thing is complied with”.
“And I can tell you that we have over 30,000 water producers in Nigeria which ATWAP has about 24,000 members. Even NAFDAC cannot tell you how many people they have registered because people come in and go out. Sometimes, when they get to a factory, they will discover it has been converted to a residential building. It is we that know who is closing, who is coming up, who has gone to NAFDAC and who has not gone to NAFDAC. And it is only we that can say hey, you can’t be in this industry if you can’t do the right thing. But if we don’t have the cooperation of the regulators, what do we do”.