Scores of hawkers of sachet water, otherwise known as ‘pure water’ Thursday protested in Benin, following a sudden upward review of its price from N10 to N20 per sachet.
Prices of bottled water was also increased from between N50 and N60 to N70 or N80, depending on the brand.
Following the development, it was gathered that many patrons at some restaurants chose to drink water from bored hole kept in water jug, while a few others who could afford it, opted for bottled water.
The sudden increase in price however sparked protest from hawkers of sachet water who complained of poor sales.
They said a bag of sachet water that hitherto sold for N100 per bag now sells for N150.
One of the protesters, Helen Usunobun, who spoke to journalists, said the situation has worsened their plight, as they have to pay the mandatory N60 daily ticket fees to council officials for hawking.
She said they could not cope with the hike in price which would leave them making N30 profit for very bag of sachet water.
“They said dollar has gone up. Whether dollar is in the water, we don’t know,” she said.
Speaking in the same vein, Mrs. Enoma Blessing, said many of her customers have had to reduce their intake of water, noting that, some who used to consume four sachet water now buy only one a day.
A water factory owner, Mr. John Irhue, who described the situation as “terrible,” blamed the hike in price of the essential commodity to increase in packaging and bagging materials.
He said a roll of packaging film that used to sell for N600,000 last week now sells for N920,000, while the bagging material rose from N3300 to N5000.
Irhue said: “It is the sourcing of the materials that is causing this problems. Nobody can give water treatment and sell at the former price of N100. It is a terrible situation we have found ourselves.”
The Chairman of the Water Producers Association, Henry Eremokhai, however said the approved price by the association was N120.
Eremokhai who bemoaned the situation, lamented that many water factory have been forced to close down due to dearth of packaging materials.tweet