This metalwork firm started operation in 2019. The inability of the firm owner to secure a government job prompted him to venture into the business as a means of survival. He has some apprentices who pay to learn the work from him.
When I got to the firm for the scheduled financial reporting last week, the firm owner was not around. I called him on the phone and he told me that he had an emergency that took him out of the state, but he will come back next week.
When I asked him if such travels usually disrupt his business, he informed me that his apprentices didn’t start work at the same time and that the most senior among them normally manages the firm in his absence so the firm remains open for business even in his absence.
This firm owns a milling business. Most times when I visit on our meeting days, he is working and you know how it is to have a milling firm inside a major market; The noise and other distractions wouldn’t let us hear ourselves well. Anytime I visit, he brings out the diary and hands it over to me. Except on a few occasions when I have to conduct a firm profile survey, we conduct surveys while he grinds. Last Friday, on our regular meeting day, he was less busy and we got to discuss his record as I saw a figure on his diary that I didn’t understand even though it was under repair. So I asked him and he mentioned that he got to repair one of his machines at N125000. Then I probed further asking how he was able to raise this sum considering his revenue. He opened up and said he got a loan from a cooperative which he used to repair his old machine and get a new machine as well. I was more interested so I asked for the details of the loan taken and recorded it appropriately on FINBIT with the interest rate and payment plan. I then told him to also record all of those activities as they are the activities we are interested in on SFD.
The respondent started this piggery business to serve as an additional source of income for her but things have not gone as she had planned.
She lost most of her big pigs due to the swine flu outbreak that ravaged the farm a few months ago. According to her, she incurred huge losses. The livestock she has on the farm currently are all weaners (young pigs).
On my last visit to this firm with my supervisor, the firm owner told us that she has been funding the farm from the income she generates from her retail stores inside the Airport. According to her, it will continue like this until the pigs grow and she can start selling them.
The livestock business, according to her, requires a lot of patience because sometimes, one can stay for months without any income from the farm while incurring expenses.
This firm owner is usually receptive and cooperative.
Today he got his L-IFT phone and was super excited about it. He signed the phone’s terms and conditions form. He sent his appreciation to L-IFT and also said the phone was timely because his phone had been broken for some time.
I got to this firm this morning for our normal weekly transactions and special event survey. He complained bitterly about how bad sales were lately and how he decided to call some of his wholesale customers to ask why they are not coming. The customers complained that most of the fish farmers had refused to stock up because of the high cost of feed. After our regular weekly transactions and survey, I presented his tablet on behalf of L-IFT. He was very happy and grateful that his birthday gift came early as he will be celebrating his birthday later this month.
This firm usually does proper documentation of their financial transactions and they got their tablets today. The firm owner was excited and rained prayers.
When I got to this firm yesterday, their generator was faulty. The customers were complaining of the heat and the staff could not attend to them because they needed light to power their printers and computers. The technician the firm owner called came and said he was not carrying the appropriate screwdriver and went back, They waited for him for over an hour before he came back. The firm owner was unhappy about this so he was forced to reschedule the special event survey.
Today was a wonderful session with my respondent as my Supervisor and Mr. Bello visited and supervised my reporting session.
Luckily, the firm owner was around for the whole session, unlike most sessions when his wife (the firm’s co-owner) sits in for our sessions.
The firm owner was in such a happy mood as we listened keenly while he gladly explained issues ranging from the current rice boom season in areas where the raw materials are abundantly sourced to the firm’s drive towards getting a multi-level complete processing unit comprising of a de-stoner and a de-husker, and milling, polishing, and packaging components with time, in answer to both my Supervisor and Mr. Bello’s probes.
He also discussed the firm’s expansion drive which has led them to a large, empty, and well-fenced land that they’ve paid for and intend to develop into a factory, less than a kilometer from their current location. All these are a result of the recent increase in their current factory’s yearly rent cost from N114,000 to an astronomical N300,000 for each factory space in a space of just 1 year.
In the end, both the firm owner and his wife (co-owner) were so happy to receive the promised phone token from L-IFT, as according to them, they’d started feeling some doubts about the sincerity of the promised tokens.
I visited this milling firm today to record his financial data as usual, but then, I noticed he wasn’t happy. So I asked if everything was ok with him, and he replied and said yes but said that a lack of electricity has been a major challenge for the week and that there was no income for the week because of that. As a result, he hasn’t paid any of his workers yet.
Below are some pictures of maize he is yet to grind.
This particular firm has been closed temporarily since the 15th of October because the firm owner was on bed rest. Since then, all efforts to pay her a courtesy visit proved abortive.
So, I decided to visit her today as promised because I had called her on phone last week. I had made my supervisor aware of it. When I got to her shop, I met her neighbor who is also a tailor who asked one of his apprentices to take me to her house, so I thanked him. As she was taking me to my respondent’s house, she kept telling me that we’ll soon get there, but then we’d been trekking for 20 minutes without reaching her house. I suggested we take a Tricycle, but she kept saying that it’s not far. A few minutes later, I asked if we were almost there. Then she said to me in a faint voice that it seems she has missed the way and that she is confused. I was angry that she told me this after all this trekking. I tried calling but my respondent’s number wasn’t not going through. That was how I humbly went back without seeing my respondent.
It wasn’t a fun experience.
This respondent runs a photocopying and printing firm, and she also does retail and wholesale of stationery products.
I had talked about this firm owner before. She is the woman that kept referring to me as “My darling, my dear”, but forgot Omolola and I in her office while she went downstairs.
So a quick history on this firm; she said she bought the space for N2,000,000 about 19 years ago now, she used to use more than one shop, she was training people interested in learning about computers, and she was making good money from that alongside her printing, photocopying, and selling of stationery products. At a time, she had to let go of the other shop, she had fewer students, and her business competitor had left so she continued making use of this current space alone. She is the leader of the plaza and anything that goes right or wrong is first reported to her. She is the one helping them hold the savings in an informal savings group, and she gets N1,000 from everyone whose money she is holding for.
So, she used to be very available at her firm to hand me her diary by herself where she had written her previous week’s transactions, but in recent times, things have changed for the better for her and she is supervising her building and the laborers contracted to work for her.
She said, “My daughter, I have worked and I think I want to rest now, I can come around here once a week to collect people’s savings and check the plaza and know how things are running. I will collect rent from my tenants when we put up this house for rent. They’re almost done with everything there, so that is what I will do.”
She said she is looking for a person to sell the shop and all its contents to, including the machines there if the person agrees to pay her N200,000 monthly. But in the meantime, she has employed a new worker to take care of the shop while she’s out supervising the building.
This firm is into printing, typesetting, and photocopying and also sells religious books alongside. Since this firm was added, I always get financial transactions from the employee who always keeps records on their desktop computer. Everything changed at the beginning of last month when the only employee left. The firm owner is in his 60s and is not used to typesetting, laminating, and the likes apart from photocopying. 3 weeks ago, when I was there with him, someone came to type and print, since he cannot handle that he directed the customer to a neighboring shop in the same line of business. This coincidentally has been happening whenever I visit. For about 3 weeks there have been no financial transactions from the firm and he doesn’t come early to work. He sometimes opens at 12 pm. Yesterday, I was with him again and he told me he has placed an advertisement for a computer operator. The business started in January this year and he feels they would do better with time.
This firm usually updates its records and uses the SFD diaries judiciously. The firm owner got his tablet yesterday and he was excited and grateful. He said that after the 1-year project he wouldn’t mind if training or workshop is organized for them.
This respondent runs a poultry and a fishery business. She started primarily for the fun of it and to have plenty to eat whenever she felt like it. She said she started developing an interest. Then somehow, someone suggested to her that she could start up and make it a business. She thought about the suggestion, then she took the big move; went for inquiries, started learning about it in bits, then she started the poultry and fishery business. She said she wanted to add raring snails, but she reconsidered it and decided to let that go or wait till later.
She got the needed items such as cages, made a pond, and bought day-old birds. She said when she first had the birds and the fishes, she lost a lot of them, especially the birds, due to her inexperience, but now, she knows better how to take care of them and grow them healthily. She is happy with her decision to rare and sell birds and fish.
This is a laundry firm, the firm owner has another business, a travel and tour business.
He is not available at his firm most of the time. He said that he stays far, but he visits his firm and still knows how things are operated there even in his absence. The washers and ironers have days they work, but that does not stop them from coming around to work.
The respondent said he is making efforts to move out of his current location because the current building where he has his firm has been sold out and to avoid any form of embarrassment, he is actively looking for a new location.
This respondent who has a school said the school was on mid-term break last week Thursday and Friday and that they were going to resume activities on Monday (01/11/2021).
I called him on the phone and he said they were in school on Monday and they’re going to keep going and not listen to the order that all nursery, primary and secondary schools, both private and government, should observe the compulsory one week break to unify the time table of the schools. He said after the back and forth his school had experienced, he does not want them to miss more days.
Yesterday, when I got to his firm for his financial transactions, his school was locked. I called him on the phone, but he did not take my calls, so I carried on with the observation survey. I was about to leave the premises of his firm when his call came in. He said that they just had to obey to avoid his school being locked as he was not ready for the trouble that could come with it.
It was an emotional interview experience for me when I met my respondent for the regular interview. My respondent is almost 80 years old and is into fabrications. Last week when I went to interview a respondent who is close to his firm I noticed he was quiet. I greeted him and tried to know if he was ok. Unlike his normal behavior where he jokes about me getting married and all that, he was not looking ok. So when we met for our interview I noticed he was summoning the courage to just talk. So I stopped the interview and asked if he was fine. He began to tell me that he is not ok. He got married late and has just a son who is also married now with children and lost his job because of COVID-19. Now, he doesn’t have anyone to support him. He should be resting now, not trying to survive. He broke into tears and I could not help it. Remember, this firm has not had any reasonable income since we started the diaries. And he tries to come to his firm every day. I had to assure him that things will be better. I pray for a miracle for him.
So my supervisor sent a message that only 11 of my observation were uploaded instead of 16. Due to the network issue, I knew I needed to try something else. So I had to drive out of the house to another area in search of the network so that I can download it. After spending almost an hour, none had uploaded so I decided to log out and try logging in. That was an error I regret because I never got to log in. That was how I came back home and logged out of the finbit app wondering how my effort for all the observations I had done had gone to waste and the time I wasted driving around looking for a network. And this is what we have to go through for another 2 months.
Monday was my meeting day with this firm but the respondent wasn’t at the firm at the time of the visit and sometimes when I call, he doesn’t respond to calls or messages due to his busy schedule. I got to record the firm’s FT and left. Yesterday, I worked around the firm’s location so I decided to stop at his firm. Fortunately, I met him and I smiled saying, “I am happy to see you today.” He smiled back and said the same. I greeted him as usual and asked him general questions about his business then I said that we have some pending surveys I need to administer with him. You need to see his reaction. He screamed saying he is very busy as he is short-staffed. His front desk staff had gained admission into a polytechnic school and hence he didn’t resume with them in November even though he had notified him. One of his craftsmen also called in sick on Monday. He also said some of his customers who couldn’t get their repairs asked for a refund of their money and took their items. The other staff too standing at the front desk don’t know which customers own which item for repairs. I empathized with him and asked what he planned to do. He said they have made arrangements to recruit two experienced craftsmen as the sick craftsman is always calling in sick most times which in turn affects their productivity. After spending some time with him, I noticed he was a bit calm. I introduced the financial tools and asset survey to him explaining what it entails. Immediately he heard what the financial tools entailed he said “Ask me questions about the loan. Maybe your firm will help us with some loans.” I laughed and said “This is just for research purposes. Don’t get it twisted.” That was how I was able to get his attention to answer the two surveys.
This firm is a food processing firm with their production site on the mainland while their distribution outlet is in my location. When we started SFD they had three employees including the manager and now, it is only the manager that is fully functional. The two other employees were not performing well with regard to sales activities and the firm’s monthly income is sometimes not enough to pay their salaries let alone make a profit. This made the manager increase their task which entails going out to market the products and sell in the major markets which will increase their sales revenue. Well, the employees took it south and resigned from the job as they prefer to sit down at the store from morning till closing hour without making any sales. Ever since then, it has been a struggle getting employees who would fit into their expectations. Most of the applicants either complain of not meeting the sales target without trying or not wanting to take up the responsibility of a marketer or they expect a higher income.
I am sure you remember this firm. The firm owner is yet to continue his bakery business as he doesn’t have the capital to put things in place or get a delivery van and operating costs. His wife who is into baking and sales of cereal doesn’t have a full-time employee which makes her ineligible to participate in SFD. He started to learn another line of business which is forex trading: He is still learning how to do Forex trading online which has the structure of learn-and-earn training. And he subscribes every month for the classes which go from Monday to Friday at most 2 hours per day or at least 1 hour. A US-based academy provides resources to learn, forecast, and monitor the market which can be done at the students’ convenience. Presently he has been trading on his own while learning. He makes gains and losses while trading. When he can’t afford to subscribe to his training in a month he practices the trading on his own.
I have always tried to make this respondent understand the importance of good financial record keeping but on each occasion, he tells me that he doesn’t have time to start writing anything in a book and that he can remember all his financial transactions.
I, my supervisor, and field manager visited this firm yesterday and the respondent informed us of a loan he applied for and was asked to get documents showing his financial transactions and he has not been keeping records. He said that the incident made him understand the importance of financial record keeping which I have always encouraged him to do. For the last two weeks, he has now kept a well-detailed record in the L-IFT notebook and he intends to continue keeping the record so that he can present it to the organization he applied for the loan as evidence.
When I got to this firm today she was complaining about how the power holding company disconnected her light because of the huge debt on the meter she was using because she cannot afford to pay it. She managed to attend to me and answer her special surveys. Her records are usually intact and up to date so I gave her the Android phone and she was so happy. She said a lot of prayers for the company.
This firm is no longer interested in the survey.
He told me he’s an elderly man, he’s uneducated, and he’s fed up with weekly transaction records and doesn’t want to participate again. He said he thought probably L-IFT would change their mind and not offer him a phone again but money. That’s why he rescheduled last week because he was fed up. He added that if he can’t be given money to support his business I should not come again unless I’m looking for trouble.
Supervisor called to know the progress of work.
I’ve been unable to see this respondent for 3 weeks because she always has impromptu meetings. Her employees manage her firm and she has 2 employees. I can’t enter her firm because of bird flu ravage so I conduct financial transactions details with her in another location away from her firm but still within the agric farm. I only observe from a distance.
I called this firm owner yesterday to schedule our appointment for her weekly transactions. She told me to meet her at her factory around 12 noon but I should call to confirm her availability again. I was about to set out to her factory then I called again as promised. She immediately asked where I was and told me not to come because there was unrest around her factory area. A policeman stabbed a tricycle driver and unfortunately, the man died, so other drivers wanted to reiterate. She suggested we meet at her house so I can get this week’s transactions done.
This firm is one of my respondents that is very detailed when it comes to their firm’s record-keeping. Yesterday was supposed to be our appointment but he told me he was very busy and that I should reschedule for today. When I got there today, he reported that the generator has been giving them issues. Meanwhile, he has been complaining about the high cost of repair and maintenance lately. The generator was down for 3 days and they could not work. Getting there today I met the technician working on the generator.
This is my respondent that has been doing great things since we started SFD with her, from displaying her signpost for advertisements to getting a Point of sale machine to starting a POS business. Some weeks or a month after we started SFD she told me about getting a POS machine which I recorded on FINBIT. She didn’t start the business immediately as she told me she was still looking for a space to use. This means she doesn’t want to bring the business to her fashion store because her neighbor was also into the business. On one of my visits, I needed to withdraw from the POS and I asked her again when she will start the business. Well, she said she is running the business in her house as she was avoiding her neighbor’s witch-hunt. I encouraged her by saying that her customers will come to her and her neighbor’s customers too will go to her and that she should summon the courage to bring it to her fashion store and start making money. On getting there on Tuesday, I am happy to let you know that she brought the POS to her store on the 1st of November and has started making money from the POS business since then.
When I presented the phone to the respondent after the weekly Financial reporting on Wednesday, she was very excited and said that the phone will serve two main purposes.
Firstly, she would like to start using the Finbit App herself and secondly, she will use the phone to promote her business by posting her products on social media.
She extended her appreciation to the entire management of L-IFT and promised to continue to participate in the project as long as it lasts.
I met a slightly unhappy firm owner today who took out time courtesy of the special events survey to relive the good old days when business was very profitable and she could handle her family’s expenses single-handedly from the proceeds of business as the breadwinner of her family; unlike this year when she feels so uninspired coming to the market most times due to prevailing uncertainties.
In the Financial tools survey, she emphasized that with the rising cost of raw materials and uncertain business market, her suppliers rarely want to give supplies on credit even as she had to maintain a strict no credit policy with all her customers to avoid stories that touch.
I was rounding up my financial tools survey with this firm when my laughter commenced. I asked if he collected any COVID-19 subsidy. He replied “No”, and then I jokingly followed saying “Baba Buhari (Muhammadu Buhari) didn’t give u anything, even rice or cow?”. The man laughed and said, “This tenure is just terrible. They had nothing to offer anyone”.
Then he started with the gist of how he was a big boy during the PDP regime. He said most PDP guys are his bosses “Oga”. That during the PDP era, he had 3 tricycles working for him as a transportation business and he could just give out 100-200k to people. People in his area loved him because he was a giver.
He said if PDP returns to Government, he is leaving Kaduna for Abuja. I asked if I could enter his bag and he said that I shouldn’t worry, no problem at all. So, if u are interested, I could ask him to get a bigger bag to take us all.
This same firm had his meter stolen 2 weeks ago. He was moving from the police station to the court for reports and affidavits. He submitted the necessary documents to KD electric but he’s been told to buy a new meter for N50,000 (120 USD) and that he has a N40,000 (96 USD) debt on the previous meter (He still doesn’t know how this happened). Needing almost 100k to solve light issues has been discouraging and saddening for him, considering how tough things are generally.
Anyway, my guy improvised by washing in his shop and taking the clothes to a neighboring shop in the same business line, for ironing. With his unreliable employees (he is practically alone at the moment), he now relies on the employees in the neighboring firm to help him iron the clothes. He pays the boys, as he would, his workers. This light problem affected his work for almost a week before he fully started this new method.
Remember my respondent that was robbed some two weeks ago and all her sewing machines were stolen? She is the same one that said business has been going well since the robbery and she has replaced one machine already.
Well, on my last visit to her she told me she went to the market and got new materials, and sales are going well so far though not as good as the last time she went to the market. She was happy to receive the tablet and thanked everyone.
This respondent is one of my replacement firms. She is a special respondent because she has a problem with hearing. To communicate with her you need an interpreter or you write on paper for her and it is not everything that she can read. I initially wanted to request that she be changed because of the communication barrier but my supervisor encouraged me to work with her and now she is one of my most friendly respondents. On my last visit to her for a scheduled interview, she told me she did not make much for the week but business is going and she has been able to pay her rent for September.
This respondent runs a school and has been very cooperative since we started with her. On Tuesday she told me she traveled for her father’s memorial and only came back that morning. She also said that it’s because of me she came to work that day as she would have ordinarily stayed indoors and gotten some rest. I appreciated her for her commitment to the research and told her the entire team was grateful.
This respondent is into the sale of frozen meat and fish, eggs, and some provisions. He had assigned one of his workers to write down transactions in our notebook. On My last visit, he told me that one of his workers had stopped work because she said she wanted to process her admission to school and start this year. He said that he hopes he finds time to continue with the record. He also said business has not been very good the past week. This is the respondent that was duped and given fake notes last month.
The respondent said he needs money now to do a lot of things and buy materials before they add money. Surprisingly during the financial tools survey, he said he doesn’t need a loan and never takes a loan as he believes it does not build a business but keeps you in debt. He also said someone hit his headlamp the previous day and was begging him that he doesn’t have money to pay. I also noticed that the respondent takes a break at 12 to say about 5-10 minutes of prayers with his employees before they continue working.
This respondent is into tailoring with her sister who is a co-owner. She told me on Thursday that this season is not looking like other Christmas Seasons at all but she is hopeful that things will get better soon as we are close to Christmas. She also said that business has not been as usual and the sit-at-home actions have not been helping at all.
This is my respondent that first lost his phone and hasn’t been able to retrieve his line to date owing to National ID challenges. On our scheduled visit on Thursday, he said business has not been easy but they are trying their best. He was happy to receive the phone and thanked the whole team for the gift, even though he already bought a new phone last week as he wasn’t sure whether he will still get a gift from us.
The respondent is into tailoring and lost her phone at school sometime last month. One of her employees stopped working while the other went for National Youth Service so it has been only her running the shop for some time now. Because she is still in school (Tertiary institution), she said it really hasn’t been easy for her combining school these days but she is trying. She also said that she is still looking for a tailor so that she doesn’t have to lock up her shop when she goes to school and also so that she doesn’t lag behind in meeting people’s orders for this Christmas season.
This respondent is very dedicated to research. I visited the respondent after business as usual and I presented the phone that L-IFT gave him, He was very happy. You all need to see the level of Joy when he was busy showing his workers and customer his new phone or as he called it “His new office for record-keeping”.
This respondent complained that parents have not been paying school fees because of the sit-at-home order and when you ask them they say that the sit-at-home order is also affecting their business and they don’t have money to pay yet. Also that the bulk of her income this term is from fresh intakes. She further said parents are also saying they should reduce school fees since the sit-at-home order has reduced the number of school days.
This respondent is one of my most cooperative respondents. She’s very detailed in terms of record-keeping. So, my supervisor and I visited her yesterday afternoon. So after the normal business of the day with her, I presented the tablet from L-IFT to her. She was very happy then she said we’ve made her day and that she’s always at our service even if L-IFT has another research aside from the SFD project.
This particular respondent is into leather bag production. So when I got to her shop today, she welcomed me as usual and gave me a detailed explanation of her book record. So when I presented the phone to her, she was excited and jumped at me.
She showed her workers and people around her the phone L-IFT gave her.
She was really thankful for the phone and promised to keep being faithful in her record keeping.
Ibe Amaka Chinwe
Is paid apprenticeship not supposed to be classified as an income source, given that the firm owner earns money from the apprentice who pays to learn a skill?
There are basically two types of apprenticeship systems:
- The apprentice pays the firm owner to learn a skill for a period of 1 year or less. The firm owner is not obligated to give any monetary tips/lunch e.t.c
At the end of the training, the apprentice may choose to continue to work for the firm owner without pay in order to perfect their skills but if they look for jobs on their own outside, they can execute them on the firm owner’s premises with the firm owner’s machine.
- The apprentice does not pay but serves the firm owner for a period of 3 to 10 years to learn a skill. In return, he gets lunch tips e.t c and at the expiration of the training period, the firm owner pays him a lump sum of money to help set up his own firm
Scenario 1 is what we encounter most in the field.
When I got to this firm yesterday, she complained of low patronage. Whenever I visit the firm there are usually a lot of customers to attend to but yesterday was somehow different. She was a bit worried but hopeful that things will change for the better.
This was the last firm selected for me. During census, he said he wasn’t interested but later when the farm president gave me an opportunity to speak with the whole farmers he was convinced that L-IFT was real.
After census, bird flu ravaged his firm and he lost all his birds (thousands). When he was selected for intake (3months after census), I called him and he said “I have your number saved come to the pen”. I got there and the place had been pulled down. He told me bird flu ravaged his pen and he lost all his birds. Nothing could be salvaged. Yet, he signed the consent form and said that he would still like to participate because he will restart his business.
True to his words he started back, bought another place, did construction, and started afresh. He bought 2600 birds but lost 1293 due to bird flu ravage again at the brooder house and was able to bring in 1307 birds to his pen. So I started his financial transactions, which have only been expenses since there was no income yet.
I got there yesterday and saw he wasn’t too cheerful as usual. When I did the special event I asked the first question about his mood and he said that he was good. When I got to the next question about profit, he said that it’s bad because he lost 100 birds due to a short change in the formula he feeds his birds. Those producing the feed reduced some nutrients in the feed drastically which affected the birds and led them to die.
In all, he’s still hopeful that some of the birds will survive, and when they grow to the point of laying birds he’s hopeful to get some income.
I’ve been experiencing a hard time tracking down this firm owner. She’s now actively involved in politics. For 4 weeks now I’ve been unable to do financial transactions with her and other surveys. Yesterday I called several times but she didn’t answer my calls and as a visitor, I’m not allowed to go near her pen due to the bird flu ravage on the premises. We usually meet in the compound but away from her pen.
This firm is a photocopying firm that sells cars as a side hustle (second income source).
He comfortably says, “I have not made any sales”, but he still runs his usual expenses, like fueling his car. While he’s going about his regular expenses, no money comes in from the photocopying business.
So I have not been able to record his financial transactions for the last 3 weeks now. As of yesterday when I called to visit or reschedule my visit, he said clearly that there’s nothing to show, no business.
No money has been coming in from the photocopying business or car-selling business, but he runs his expenses and says he gets financial gifts from people.
He has expenses but because he doesn’t take the money from the business that we’re carrying out our research on, I can not take those records as they are not useful to the research.
This firm owner is female. She’s into fashion designing and makes good cloth designs. Yesterday, I visited her shop as usual after going through her record keeping. We interacted a little about the way the business is going, and she explained how things are expensive now and the patronage from customers has been low due to hard times. After the normal discussion, I presented her phone to her and she was so happy that she danced all around.
When I got to this firm yesterday, the firm owner was not available at the time of visit. l was surprised because we had agreed earlier so I called him again. He then apologized that he has to go get raw materials at the leather market which was very urgent. He rescheduled and the firm’s observation was done.
This firm was newly recruited, but the firm owner is usually not available in the firm. The data that is being collected from the employee assigned to me is incomplete because the firm owner has some of this information with him. This is really challenging. If I call to schedule appointments, he keeps giving excuses that he is very busy.
I visited this firm that is into leather shoe production yesterday and in the course of our session, the respondent disclosed having visited his loyal but sick apprentice who wasn’t available the past week. The firm owner supports him with a token to help him get drugs while permitting him to stay home and recover even as he and the second employee continue to manage production at the firm.
In the course of our session yesterday, my respondent who is into processing palm kernel oil and its derivatives disclosed that 2 personnel of their market security team quit, leaving all firm owners in the production cluster to come together at their general meeting to find ways of raising funds to collectively solve the security deficit soon.
Let me tell you a little about this firm owner. She is in her 50’s. She started her business in August last year. She loves to put her things in order and doesn’t like to be put under any form of pressure. She runs a computer-based training school where they teach students different types of professional exams like JAMB, TOEFL, and IELTS to mention a few. I have been visiting her weekly for close to four weeks now so we can set up her FINBIT account. We eventually got to set up her employee list on Wednesday.
She has different categories of employees, like a very peculiar case. Even though she had initially hinted that to me, as we were recording the list of employees, I understood vividly what she meant. So let me break down those categories.
- Full-time: Staff that work 8-6 pm 5 days a week and they earn a monthly salary.
- Part-time: Staff who work twice a week/2-3hours per day. Some of them earn per hour while some earn per month, and some earn per number of students.
- Standby: Staff who work only when there are students that enroll for their course. Some earn a full month’s salary as they work full time for five days while some work part-time and earn wages per hour.
After capturing her employees on paper, as she is always busy and tries to squeeze out 20-30mins on each visit, I appreciated her and asked for one little favor as I am an Oliver twist who always wants more. I asked if she has had financial transactions for the past three weeks as we would need to be recording on a weekly basis after taking that of the past three weeks. She said, “I know your company work doesn’t finish once. You will keep asking and asking.” then we both laughed. She said she has all her records up to date written in the book right in front of her and she has inputted them into her system. I smiled and said, “Wow, that means we don’t have a problem. Ma, can I please take a snapshot of the last three weeks’ FT so I can input them on my FINBIT?” She said “Not now my dear. I have completed today’s meeting with you. At least there is no rush.” That was how I gently carried my body and bid her goodbye till the next visit.
In one of my financial reporting sessions yesterday, my respondent who runs a medical laboratory expressed her displeasure at the incessant sit-at-home orders and complained that on such occasions, the firms had already paid recurrent bills like rent and utilities even though they are non-operational.
She hoped that both the Federal Government and IPOB will come to a truce soon so that everything will get back to normal again.
So today I was eventually able to meet up with this respondent who is interested in the research. The distance between his house and firm is a lot, but he already has his secretary documenting the financial transactions from his business. She is the one who I usually meet to get the already written financial transactions that I input on FINBIT.
I have been rescheduling our meetings for quite some time now. There was even an option of using WhatsApp, but I’d rather it be conducted in person.
I’m glad he was available to give me some time to conduct the Special Event Survey and Financial Tools & Other Assets Survey with him today.
This respondent who is into making clothes has been busy with work for some weeks now, though she still makes time f
or the weekly interview. According to her, this period is always a busy one as she has numerous clothes to sew due to the upcoming Christmas festival. In the course of recording the firm’s weekly income, she told me of the money one of her apprentices paid to her. According to her anybody that wants to learn tailoring from her usually pays seventy thousand nairas (167.8 USD) as an apprenticeship fee and this also serves as a source of income for the firm.
During our weekly interview yesterday, this respondent informed me that funding has been the major factor hindering her business. According to her, she intends to purchase some chicks next week that she will sell by Christmas though she regretted that the birds will not grow to the size she wanted by Christmas. She noted that she would have purchased the chicks 2 months ago but had no money. She, therefore, pleaded for financial assistance from L-IFT.
When I got to the firm today for the weekly interview, I saw so many customers around. I asked the respondent the reason for such a number of customers during our interaction and she told me that her major competitor in the area has not opened for business for the past week and this made some of her competitor’s customers come to her. She said she is not wishing her competitor bad but prays for such patronage to continue because according to her it is very good for her business.
The respondent complained bitterly that business during this period has been slow, unlike other years. According to him, by this time in other years, he would have gotten so many contracts to make doors and gates for people moving into their new houses during Christmas. He blamed the economy of the country and the security situation which he said will prevent some people from coming home for Christmas and completing their new houses.
In the course of our interaction today, the respondent told me that he has adopted an approach he called “Double feeding” in order not to allow the incessant sit-at-home order to affect the running of his business. When I asked him for the meaning, he said it simply means keeping enough feed and water for the livestock that will last for two days. With this, the pigs will have enough feed and water till he comes to the farm again after the sit-at-home day.
Visited this firm today as it’s our usual meeting day. We exchanged pleasantries and she handed me her record book. Her neighbor who has been meticulously monitoring my visit walked in and sat with me while I was asking my respondent questions about her transactions. When we were done, the neighbor came in. She said, “I have been watching you all these while and the kind of questions you ask this woman, sometimes I wish I was part of your research and I said I will see you today to ask if it’s not late. I want to be part of the project too.”
Me: It’s actually late now to be part of the project ma. We are interested in selected businesses and your line of business is not part of the project. This is why I couldn’t come to your shop during the census.
She was sad about this.
She sells charcoal. Now that gas is expensive you can patronize her.
My respondent is very happy to be part of the project. She’s appreciative of how she keeps her records now even though those who are owing her are not showing any intentional efforts in paying back. She wishes that the project will continue beyond August 2022.
Consistency is key. This firm is into fashion and design. She sews beautifully well.
She was very pessimistic about keeping records because she has never attempted that before. She has about 9 apprentices so she assigned the responsibility to 2 of her employees to always update the record book for any transaction and she goes through it for confirmation. This has really helped me too. She loves the notebook distributed and like Oliver Twist, she’s asking for more. She got the tablet and she’s very happy with it.
She has very cheerful employees. I have never had failed interviews with her before.
This firm owner wasn’t available today only his employees were there. I called him and he said he lost his father so he couldn’t come to his firm today and financial transactions could not be done until he is back in town.