The sachet water, commonly known as ‘Pure Water’ all over Nigeria, is the most popular source of drinking water in most cities and villages. Last week, reports showed that the price of a sachet of water has jumped from N10 to N20 in some areas in Nigeria not to talk of bottled water prices. The doubling of the cost of sachet water is very symbolic. Over the years, as inflation made the mess of the value of the Naira and the spending power of Nigerians, the sachet water had held firm.
As the saying goes, ‘water is life’. Biologically, water is essential to the human body. Every one of our cells, organs, and tissues use water to help with temperature regulation, keep hydrated, and maintain bodily functions. Besides, water acts as a lubricant and cushions our joints. Drinking water is excellent for your overall health. And it is not a luxury but primarily a need. The desire for water is not like a craving for sweets, chewing gums or alcohol. It is as essential as eating food and it is also vital while eating food.Scientifically, 60% of the human body is made up of water. While the brain and heart are 73%water, the lungs are about 83% water.
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These may explain why the price of water has been relatively inelastic. The cost of sachet water held firm while other goods caved to inflation, perhaps because of the catastrophic consequences of this critical item becoming unaffordable to most Nigerians. Now the price of ‘Pure Water’ has finally doubled. This issue is a severe problem for the Nigerian masses and symptomatic of Nigeria’s economic crisis. It is no longer a point of argument that hardship has overtaken the land.
The Central Bank of Nigeria should urgently come up with creative policies to tackle inflation. Control of money supply, policies to increase the competitiveness and efficiency of the economy, putting downward pressure on long-term costs (supply-side policies) and fiscal policies like higher income tax rates could reduce spending, demand, and inflationary pressures.
On the part of Nigerians, from our leaders to the masses, this unique period calls for greater patriotism and sacrifice. It is time to appreciate the depths of our problems, and there should be a realisation that the country currently titters at the brink of disintegration. With rising insecurity, ethnic tensions and tribal clashes, and anomie that permeates Nigeria, further unpatriotic acts may be the unfortunate spark that ignites the flame that may finally consume Nigeria as a corporate entity. The current generation of Nigerians should ensure that we are not the ones that sang ‘Nunc Dimittis’ on a once-great country.
The challenge for leaders is how to protect the masses from worsening inflation and attendant drop in living standards. The leaders should demonstrate accountability, integrity, empathy, and passion demanded by these challenging times. On their part, the masses should eschew all acts capable of worsening an already bad situation. They should strive to be responsible citizens and should not engage in acts capable of sabotaging government efforts to get the country out of the woods.
There is no doubt that poverty bestrides our land. Many people are genuinely suffering. We have returned to the times of hyperinflations, low standard of living, and economic dilemma. Everyone wants solutions to the hydra-headed financial and economic problems. But it is not easy. We have no choice but to come up with solutions before it is too late. A stitch in time saves nine.