Water vendors deny production of sub-standard commodity

The Association of Table Water Producers (ATWAP), has dismissed allegations that some members of the group are producing sub-standard table and sachet water.
Mr Abdulmumin Balogun, Chairman of the Expanded National Executive Committee of the group, told the News Agency Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Tuesday, that the allegations are baseless and unfounded.
He said that routine search and checks were being conducted across the factories which produces the commodity.
Balogun, who is also the Secretary, Nasarawa state chapter of the group, said that water factories are also subjected to regular inspection periodically by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
He said the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON), State and local government health departments and the Weights and Measures Department of the federal ministry of Industry, also inspect production.
He said that the association carried out periodic sanitation exercises and that during such exercises, factories that are found breaching the standards are reported to the regulators.
He said apart from fined levied on defaulting factories by the association, the body also helps the regulators to fish out every defaulting factory since the producers are the major marketers themselves.
“First and foremost, it will take a nationwide survey of all water producers, or majority of them, to accuse water producers of not meeting standards. The  accusation is not true,” he said.
“NAFDAC acknowledges the fact that water producers have helped to greatly improve the health situation in the country based on the quality of locally-produced water that reaches the interiors of the country.
“Those who accused water producers of poor manufacturing standards forget that one of the prerequisites of operating a water production facility is the employment of Production Managers.
“Production Managers are certified scientists who adhere to approved production standards. They are also knowledgeable about how to recall problematic products even after they are sold,” he stressed.
Balogun disclosed that the association also educates its members through seminars and symposia, and that it also educate customers on how to store water to ensure a healthy shelf life, adding that poor water storage leads to spoilage.
He stated that despite the warning on how to store every sachet and bottle water, it is painful to note that some retailers do not adhere to this warning, and therefore cause leaching or contamination of the low density of plastic in which they are packaged.
According to him, leaching could cause a fading of the colour of the plastic, thereby giving the impression that the water in it is bad; and that this may not be the case.
He said that sub-standard packaging material can lead to contamination of packaged water, adding that in every sector of the economy, there are always bad eggs who are bent to compromise standard especially in their drive to make more profit.
He said that ATWAP usually fishes out this kind of people, saying that it is more interested in delivering healthy water to the consumer, which he can boast of as of today.
Balogun, therefore, called for special intervention fund by the government for registered water producers, adding that this fund should be disbursed to beneficiaries in form of grant to existing businesses.
According to him, over 90 per cent of existing factories are running the business with micro-finance Medium- and Small=scale Micro Enterprises (MSME) loan which they sometime find it difficult to access.
He called for single digit loans and facilities to be made available to factories that needed such through ATWAP for easy repayment, saying the association is more closer to producers in case of any defaulters.
Balogun stated that the support loan is most crucial as some of these factories closed during the rainy season, while some of them are alive during the dry season.
He said government needs to commend ATWAP for forming partnerships with it and other private organisations towards the evacuation of wastes from the streets for their conversion to wealth.
He called on accusers to prevail on government to improve the condition of the public roads which he alleged had constantly affected its distribution vehicles.
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