…says ‘being in business is for survival not maximization of profit’
It was an unusually hot Monday afternoon as our correspondent walked into the warm embrace of the General Manager of Delmita Water in her classic, cosy office located at the heart of Ademola Street, South-West, Ikoyi.
Without much ado, the conversation began with Mrs Blessing Omolu Nnamuka, the GM, Delmita Water. In her brief introduction, she waxed philosophical and lyrical in this conversation with Okosun Dennis. She revealed the effects of subsidy on business and standing tall against competing economic challenges.
I am Mrs Blessing Omolu Nnamuka, a graduate with an ISOF certification. I did my NYSC with National Agency For Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), where I learnt things like Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) which takes care of areas where you are likely going to have issues, risk – thinking ahead mechanism and how to mitigate it.
Why ventured into water business and not fashion, banking etc?
I would say it is an opportunity. Before I went into the university, I had wanted to do something that has much to do with food. I wanted to work in a place where food is processed because I love food, cooking and something that is in high demand. I mean; an item that is needed regularly by people everyday, everytime in high demand.
After my university, I had the opportunity to serve at NAFDAC and was posted to the water section which exposed me to the water processing because I was always going to water factories; seeing the compliance and how they operate, and I got so much fascinated. Essentially, it was just an opportunity.
Is water business really thriving?
Yes. When we enter into the dry season, our sales rises and you know people take a lot of water. The demand is higher compared to the raining season. People do take a lot of water and I encourage Nigerians to take lots of water for hydration.
Private sector blaze the trail, providing water, a responsibility of the government to provide portage water for citizens. How has the private sector faired?
I cannot say for other private companies but for Delmita Water. We try to maintain a very high standards of quality water for our customers. Whatever that will stand against achieving quality water, we avoid it. Our principal has always believed in maintaining quality and standards; he drums that into our heads everyday. Whenever we are producing, the standard must be high and qualitative. For Delmita Water, I can ‘beat my chest’ and stand tall that our standards is a top-notch and within our capacity, we have met the standards. At Delmita, our mission is to improve the quality of life of our consumers and ensuring a healthy future for them by providing access to affordable, safe, and healthy water.
Some factories falling short of standards and cut corners?
With my experience, I know what to expect in the areas of quality, standards and with NAFDAC compliance. We have kept to that standards and have done everything to maintain optimal standards. Everyday, I operate as if it’s an audit for me. I see everyday as an audit and inspection for me. I carry out inspection everyday to ensure everything is right and tidy. However, it is a continuous process; being in compliance is an everyday thing in line of our business.
NAFDAC carrying out routine checks?
The treatment is one of the challenges and it’s capital intensive. Inspection of facilities and compliance level are key aspects.
NAFDAC do carry out routine inspection. We have experienced it twice. The first time was before the COVID 19 and last year, 2022. They came for routine inspection. Incidentally, I wasn’t on ground and my assistance too. However, we have capable staffs – graduates of Chemistry – who can handle situations to maintain Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) at all times.
When was Delmita Water established?
We started in 2018 with production of only sachet water and started the bottle (dispensal) two years ago. However, Delmita Water goes through a robust process that includes a Sand Bed Filter, Activated Carbon Filter, Ion Exchange Filter, Reverse Osmosis and finally Micro-filtration. This Five-Step process ensures absolutely safe, clean and refreshing water.
How is subsidy affecting business vis-a-vis maximization of profit?
Hum!!! Subsidy is really affecting us a great deal. Our vendors have increased their prices of equipment and materials like nylon and bottles. Also, the diesel has gone up astronomically and that affects cost of production. To cut cost, we leverage on the availability of electricity supply. The use of light helps us a bit even though the cost of getting recharge for the pre-paid meter is not cheaper either. However, the use of the electricity has helped us at cutting cost of production. As much as possible, we streamline our production line within the availability of electricity and that has helped at reducing over dependence on generator.
Why the surge in prices?
We have an association of Water Producers and they came together to consider the prices as materials have gone up due to subsidy, and had to increase our prices. However, our prices is still very affordable.
The increase in prices is not in an attempt to maximize profit but an attempt to survive because materials have gone up astronomically. For instance, we used to buy a printed roll of 1 kilogramme for N700 but a kilogramme of printed roll now goes for N1,800. You can see the differences! It is too wide a margin that nobody can do less than what we are doing now in terms of sale. However, some companies are luckier with many mechines and that further reduce their cost of production. The only way to maximize profit is when a company have more mechines producing at the same time and that would reduce the time used as well. In such a way, they can maximize profit effortlessly.
Badly hit by taxation?
For taxation, we have people that handle it for us both at the Federal and State government levels. I wouldn’t know much about how friendly it is because I don’t have anything to compare it with. Generally, I think it is fair.
This is Yuletide period. Your wishes to your numerous customers?
My wishes to my customers is a safe trip wherever they wish to travel to spend their Xmas and New Year holidays and come back safely. We wish them the best the season has to offer.