EWRC Meets with SPWPBO Executive Members
On Thursday 3rd October 2019, the Commission held a meeting with the Executive of the Salone Water Packeters and Bottling Organization (SPWPBO) and a number of water producers on a recent public notice by the organization informing the public of a Le 1,000 increment in the price for a bundle of sachet water.
In the meeting chaired by Commissioner Sahr Ngayenga, he explained that the SPWPBO executive were summoned to the said meeting in reaction to the recent press release and radio appearances by Max Jalloh, Public Relations Officer of the organization. Mr. Ngayenga went on to condemn members of the executive for such an unlawful act on the basis that the organization did not follow the due processes as provided by the statutory instrument that gives the Commission powers to approve price for water and electricity services.
According to the Vice President of the organization Amin Hudroge, the current price of Le 2,500 for the sachet water has been maintained for over 10 years and in consideration of the steady increase in cost of production materials, the organization thought it fit to increase the cost from Le 2,500 to Le 3,500 per bundle.
The Commission’s Director General Emmanuel Mannah went on to point out relevant sections of the SLEWRC ACT of 2011 that gives the Commission powers to regulate, through price and quality, water and electricity services in Sierra Leone
It was on this basis that the organization was therefore warned not to proceed with the illegal price increase and as a way forward, was also requested to forward proposed cost, production costs and other relevant information to the Commission for review and possible approval in the shortest period.
Chairlady of the organization Fanta Fofana appealed to the Commission to expedite the review process as according to her, a number of producers are currently going out of business as they are finding it difficult to keep up with production based on the current price per bundle.
The Commission’s Legal Consultant Ibrahim Sorie Kamara cautioned producers to make provisions for the processes and timelines for price review as stipulated by the SLEWRC Act and to appropriately channel all concerns to the Commission on matters affecting the organization going forward.
In conclusion, the Commission’s Head of Water Department Ing. Michael Kargbo informed the meeting of the strides made by the Commission for a harmonized licencing and monitoring approach considered by Ministry of Health, Sierra Leone Standards Bureau and the Commission in collaboration with SPWPBO which would be rolled out by Wednesday 9th October 2019. He further highlighted that this harmonized approach would ensure an effective regulatory regime in the package water industry.
He reiterated the Commission’s willingness to review the current price of packaged water in the shortest possible time, upon submission of the said proposal by this organization.