Packaged water producers in Ondo raise alarm over soaring cost of production
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The Association of Table Water Processors (ATWAP) in Ondo State has raised alarm over the skyrocketing prices of materials, equipment and production costs, alerting the public of the inevitable upward review of prices in order to keep them in business.
This was disclosed by the State Chairman of ATWAP in the state, Stephen Bolawole, during a one day sensitization seminar organised for all water producers in Akure South, Akure North, Idanre and Ifedore Local Government Areas of the state for stakeholders in water production.
The seminar tagged “The Best Global Practices In Producing Safe and Hygienic Water For Consumption” was organised by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and Ondo State Vehicle Inspection Services.
Bolawole expressed fear that the hyperinflation being experienced in the country has been forcing members out of business as many producers could no longer cope with the maintenance of their equipment and sundry expenses.
He explained that the water producers are left with no option but to review the prices of their products upward to save many factories from folding up.
According to him, “diesel which used to sell for N130 has skyrocketed to N800 and above, Toyota Dyner Vehicle commonly used for water distribution which was earlier sold for N1.6m has jumped to N6m and above, apart from its costly spear parts for the maintenance.
“A kilogram of nylon used is now selling for N1,750 against its old price of N520 and packing nylon initially sold for N2,800 has risen to N7,500 per bundle, among others production materials, making it difficult for investors to break even.”
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He stated that despite the unprecedented increment in the costs of production, the price of a bag of sachet water had almost remained unchanged with an insignificant increment from the old price of N120 to N150, while the members of the association have been producing at loss.
Also speaking, Akure Zonal Chairman of the Association, Mr Rotimi Mapayi, enjoined members not to be discouraged by the ugly situation occasioned by inflation, stressing that the business could be self-financing and sustainable, if members cooperate and explore lawful means without compromising quality standards.
Mapayi noted that quitting the business is not an option but rather said many workers would be thrown into the already saturated labour market thereby compounding unemployment and insecurity challenges in the country.
Mapayi, however, called on the government at the state and federal levels to come to the aid of the water producers through various incentives that would help improve and sustain the water production business, noting that safe, drinkable and hygienic water plays essential role in the healthy living of the people.
A prominent member of the association and traditional ruler, the Agbaka of Alagbaka in Akure, Oba Afolabi Obasuyi, in his remarks sought the cooperation of members with the present executives of the association to take the business out of the present predicament and lead the association to prosperous and sustainable pedestal.
The State Coordinator of NAFDAC, Pharmacist Benu Phillips, sensitized the water producers on quality control and lay emphasis on standards for water production to ensure safe and awesome water for human consumption.
Benu warned against any sharp practice capable of jeopardising the health of the public as a producer who fails to strictly comply with the set operational standards would be severely sanctioned.
The state NAFDAC coordinator explained that the Agency has the mandate to ensure compliance with the laid down operational standard would not go unpunished, saying any sharp practice in the water production process potent a great danger to human health and could lead to epidemics and deaths of the people.
Also in his lecture tittled defensive driving, the Ondo State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Ezekiel SonAllah, stressed the need for the producers to ensure that their staff, especially drivers adhere strictly to the road safety tips by consistently checking various components of their vehicles before putting them on roads.
Represented by the Sector Head of the Transport Safety and Standardization Scheme, Mr. Busuyi Komolafe, SonAllah said drivers must employ the rule of defensive driving which entails driving to save life, time and money.
Also speaking, Ondo State Director of Vehicles Inspection Services, Engr. Alaba Adeleye decried the attitudes of some truck drivers towards overspeeding and overloading, stressing the dangers inherent in such acts.
The Director, who was represented by his Deputy, Engr. Victor Adeseluka emphasised that adequate care must be given to trucks used for the distribution of products to customers so as to reduce carnage on the roads to bearest minimum.
Adeleye opined that daily and routine maintenance of vehicles would ensure its roadworthiness, save cost, time and guarantee vehicle durability, noting that lack of proper maintenance of vehicles causes an accident and usually lead to loss of lives and properties.