TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Liberia’s growing mineral water industry

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Source: Liberian Observer

Liberia’s mineral water industry has begun to take center stage as the sector moves to increase the country’s export. Enjoying government’s subsidy in the form of tax incentives, the country’s mineral water industry continues to boom on all fronts.

Made-in-Liberia mineral water is found in all supermarkets, neighborhood shops, restaurants, and street corners in major cities and towns in Liberia and elsewhere. It may recalled that few years ago, the government of Liberia increased duty or tariff on imported mineral water and reduced taxes on locally produced water.

According to government, the decision was aimed at encouraging Liberian-owned water companies to add more value to their products and take no chance with their product integrity.

Liberian entrepreneurs became interested in this sector in recent years. However, the business has continued to expand boundlessly. New brands continue to debut on the market on any given day. Of course, mineral water is a flourishing business in a number of West African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, and Cote d’Ivoire where it has generated employment for millions of people.

Mineral water producers in Liberia, like others in the sub-region, package their water in plastic sachets and bottles. Today, four brands stand out as the most sought after among the fast growing wave of mineral water companies. They include Aqua Life, AQAURUS, Vista, and Blue Lake. They are all produced in Liberia and have been locked in fierce competition for control of the local market.

Though the local market appears to be dominated by one, the other three companies are not sitting supinely. Some of them have gained access to international markets, where they have focused their attention on exporting their products.

For example, AQAURUS and Blue Lake enjoy exporting their locally produced water to European, American and the Middle Eastern Markets.

According to sources, the Management of AQUARUS even enjoys unflinching rights, under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), to export to American and European markets. Blue Lake, on the other hand, exports to Middle Eastern market.

Pipe borne water is very scarce in Monrovia where nearly two million people live. Electricity and water supply sources were all destroyed during the war. Many communities therein depend on water from hand pump, which is not safe for drinking.

The Water & Sanitation department of the Ministry of Health has regulations regarding to construction of wells, to ensure safe access to water, a service that is sometimes ignored to the detriment of many communities. In many quarters, septic tanks are built in yards without the foresight of a well for drinking and domestic use.Subsequent wells dug too close to septic tanks cause water to be polluted, thus causing many people to fall victim to diarrhea or even cholera.



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