By Emmanuel Udom
Sachet water, popularly known as pure water, has become one irresistible gold to some hustlers and petty traders in Lagos, Nigeria, investigations conducted by www.csomedia.com.ng reveal.
Call it survival, runs, desperate-petty traders-on- a- profit-driven-mission, fired by the ‘battered Nigerian economy’ and COVID-19 pandemic, indulge in and you may not be wrong.
Thursday, May 7, this writer decided to have his breakfast of rice, beans and meat at Oshiodi bus-stop, in Lagos.
The life of a street old-man, you must say. You are right, my brothers, my sisters.
A fair complexion female food vendor, whose food-point is located near the wall separating Oshiodi High School, from the bus-stop, dished out the food.
However, I was stunned after eating the food and demanding for a sachet of pure water to wash-down- the-food, when she told me point-blank that a sachet of pure water is now selling for N20.
Rattled, this writer then moved around some major bus-stops and major roads, asking sachet water traders how much they are selling their products, this time around.
He spoke with some petty pure water traders at Ikeja, CMS, Oshiodi, Yaba, Iyana-Ipaja, Agege, etc, bus-stops, in Lagos.
It was discovered that some of these traders were either selling a sachet of pure water for N20, some for N50, while others sold theirs for N15 each, while others are still selling theirs for N10.
A female pure water trader at Ikeja underbridge in Lagos, when challenged blasted this writer, thundering “that she now buys a bag of pure water for between N150 to N250 per bag”.
How then I can still sell a sachet of pure water for N10, she asked, absent-minded.
This means that for a bag of pure water completely sold by these traders, some could make as much as N250 or less than N50 per bag as net profits, after deducting their running costs.
But, Lateef Toyin, a worker with Lijambetti Enterprises, producers of sachet water, whose office is located at 9, Ajisegin Street, Ladipo, Oshiodi, Lagos, said her company still sells a bag of pure water for N120 to its many customers.
A member of Bottle Water Producers Association, Lagos state chapter, who spoke on phone with this writer, said various pure water processing companies charge various amounts for their products.
Around Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Lekki, and other mega-cities in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, some of those who spoke with this writer either blamed the rise in the price of sachet water on government, the battered economy, or the minimum wage issue.
But, Florence Marcus, a resident of Ikoyi says she has no business patronizing pure water companies as she makes do with treated water in bottles being sold in supermarkets and good pharmaceutical stores.
Stephen Ogundijo, a journalist, resident in Adura area of Alagbado in Lagos, says the poor masses are always at the receiving end of government decisions, actions, and inactions.
However, check at the official website of the National Agency for Foods and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, reveals that some micro-companies producing sachet or bottled waters are registered for between N62, 500, by the regulating agency.
In these hard times, NAFDAC do give about 80 percent discount for registration to these companies in order to ensure their survivals.
But, nothing is specifically said on price regulations or control by the regulating agency, as insider sources allege that private companies producing sachet or battled water decide how much the companies should sell their products to their customers.
Lekan Otufodunrin, Executive Director, Media Career Services (MCS), publishers of www.mediacareerng.org
MCS is a media training, research and consultancy organization devoted to promoting excellence in media practice in Nigeria.
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