By: WASH R&E “Media” Network – In recent times, the City of Monrovia and other parts experienced a sharp increase in the price of a sack of locally produced mineral drinking water on the Liberian Market.
This increase in the price of a sack of water is said to be posing serious economic challenge to ordinary Liberians, and individuals who are selling the commodity to make ends-meat.
The sack of locally produced water initially was sold from 2011 at the price between of 70-75 Liberian Dollars, and later dropped between 50-60 Liberian Dollars in 2015 and 2016.
But by the end of 2016, especially during the festive season, the price of a sack of mineral water sharply increased between 100–125 Liberian Dollars by some water producers.
The producers blamed the sharp increase to additional taxes imposed on them by the Liberian government, and on the exchange rate which is now put at 1USD to 103Ld and in some areas 104 USD.
Responding to the issue, Finance and Development Planning Minister, Boima Kamara attributed the sharp increase in the price of a sack of water to the exchange rate.
Minister Kamara however assured Liberians that government will ensure that all is done to stabilize the price of drinking water on the Liberian market.
In a related, the Liberia Water Producers Association says the price of sachet of water on the Liberian Market has at least dropped from 100 Liberian Dollars to 75 Liberian Dollars.
The Water Producers said the agreement was reached recently after a meeting with authorities of the Commerce Ministry.
Per the President of the Association, Yvonne Boyd, production cost and the rate of the US dollar are two major factors contributing to increased in the price of water in sachet to 100 Liberian dollars.
She disclosed that due to the increase of production cost and other factors, 20 of the 428 water companies have shut down their operations in the country.
Madam Boyd said the increase in the price might seem to be abrupt to many Liberians, but it has been discussed with the Commerce Ministry in line with prevailing realities on the market.
She said water producers are still calling on the government to make some adjustment in the price, adding “we cannot operate our businesses with loses”.
Madam Boyd indicated that the Association is negotiating with the Commerce Ministry to adjust the price of water in line with prevailing conditions on the market.
The Association assured Liberians of safe and clean drinking water on the market always.
Madam Boyd has indicated that the manufacture price of 30 pieces of 500ml of sack of water remains 75 LD, while retailers or cooler price of 30 pcs of sachet water is still been sold for 3 for ten Liberian dollars.
She further said street peddler’s price of a plastic bag of water is 5 Liberian Dollars.
Despite the intervention of the Liberia Water Producers Association and the government of Liberia, some producers continue to sell water at the price of 100 LD for a sack.
Based on anonymity, companies selling water still at 100-125 LD revealed they will continue to sell at these prices until the rate can be adjusted.
The prevailing economic situation is even making matter complicated as many see the increased in the price of a sachet of water – an essential commodity – as the worse instance of the economic downturn.
This is however the second time in two years for a price of a locally produced mineral water to experience sharp increase.
Similar situation occurred in 2014 when the price of a sack on water increased from 65 to 100 Liberian Dollars.
Hope the price of a sack of drinking water is reduced soon in the supreme interest of especially the ordinary and most marginalized people who have already resulted to unsafe well-water or what is commonly referred in Liberia as “big bag water”.