Public Relations Officer of the Sierra Leone Electricity and Water Regulatory Commission (SLEWRC), Ngozi Obi Sesay, said in an interview on Star Radio last week that the commission, pursuant to the SLEWRC Act of 2011, could impose a fine of Le50m or five years imprisonment on any water producing company that fails to cease operation after being notified to do so by the regulator.
She made this statement after the commission blacklisted eighty-six (86) water producing companies in Sierra Leone it said should cease operation and withdraw their products from the market because of lack of hygiene, standards and sanitation, in a press release dated 7 March, 2016.
“These companies should resume production after the water quality has been reassessed and certified by the Standards Bureau and their status regularized as a water producing entity after being licensed by the Commission,” the press release stated.
The release furthered that any action on the part of these companies which is contrary to the said directive would trigger the full penalty of the law as stipulated in section 65 of the Electricity and Water Regulatory Act of 2011.
Ms. Sesay said that out of 110 water sachets from various companies that the Standards Bureau tested, 86 failed the test of producing quality water for public consumption.
“The report of water companies that are not producing quality water and those that meet the standards of quality water was sent to the Commission. As a Commission that regulates water producing companies in Sierra Leone, we wrote letters to the defaulters warning them to cease production and withdraw their products from the market,” she said.
What we want, she said, is that they owners of those companies should allow their products to be re-assessed by Standards Bureau before they would be granted new licenses to operate.
“We are asking you to cease but that does not mean that we are not going to give you the opportunity to regularize your products with Standards Bureau. They should come to the Commission where they will be given the processes that they should go through in order to be qualified to operate,” she said.
She said unsuspecting members of the public drink the “unhygienic” sachets of water thinking they are pure, when in fact many are unsafe for drinking.
She said the Act also gives the commission mandate to confiscate and vandalise machines used by defaulting water producing companies to produce the alleged bad water.
“We don’t have a concise data on the amount of water companies producing water in Sierra Leone. The reason is that some companies only produce water at night and wrap up their machines in the morning. Some are at some locations that are hard to reach so it’s difficult to track them down,” she said.
She added that there are some companies that use brand of those that have been certified by Standards Bureau to produce their water, adding that it is not easy to get rid of them.
The names of the alleged defaulting water producing companies are: Nour Best Drinking Water, Blue Moon Industry, Haj-Bak Water2, Hands Production (Family Water), Albarka Pure Drinking Water, Mary’s Pure Drinking Water,Always Fresh Drinking Water,Daily Fresh Drinking, MAG Pure Water,So Pure Drinking Water,Easy Life Drinking Water, UBEE’s Pure Water,Pure Family Spring Water, Heart and Hand Care Pure Drinking Water,Pure Dunia Water,Tumac Pure Water, Rose-Angella Spring Water,Aqua Royal, MCBR Distilleries,Masem Family Pure Water, Asalam Pure Drinking Water,Amish Pure Drinking Water, Welfare Special Drinking Water, Family Spring Pure Drinking Water, among others.