“Respondents’ Stories Shared by the Field Team: 1 December 2021 – 16 December 2021”

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This respondent is into printing and Photocopying, Sale Of Computers and accessories as well as POS business. For sometime he has been complaining about business. On my last visit to him he said he is looking for a lecturing job. During employee by employer survey he said he needs an experienced person in computers and accessories because he may not be around very much if his application application for a lecturing job works out. He said the person he has presently cannot work unsupervised so his wife always has to be around in the shop when he is not


Remember my respondent that is a tailor whose machines were stolen sometime in October?
I visited her yesterday for weekly reporting and during our session she said she is done going to Aba to buy textiles for sale this year. That it’s until next year. That for now she has more than enough clothes to make for customers and doesn’t want to add to it. She said once she buys textiles for sale people will come to buy and ask her to sew it for them and she doesn’t have space for more sewing this year. She also said someone gave her 163,000 to buy sewing machines to help replace the ones that were stolen.


This respondent is also a tailor. During our weekly reporting session yesterday, she said she wanted to go to the market to get materials she will add to the textile she is making. She said she prefers going on her own so she can get what she likes and what is quality for her customers. She also said she doesn’t like buying from the streets because their wares are costlier.
She was happy I didn’t have a lot of questions like last week when we took the surveys.


This respondent informed me last week that one of his employees lost her mother and had to travel to her village. Yesterday, during weekly reporting he told me the employee that travelled for her mother’s death is not yet back so he had to bring his sister out from maternity leave to help out. Also said that sales has been dropping since the past 2 weeks


This respondent owns a school. During yesterday’s weekly reporting, she said one of her teachers has been on maternity leave so she had to find another person who has worked with her before to substitute her for the while she will be gone then when she is back the substitute will stop. I gave the respondent her tablet yesterday and she was happy to recieve it. Respondent said she was scared when we first started and had to make enquiries. That when I informed her I will be asking weekly questions about income and expenses she was even more scared and thought it was something fraudulent. But she told herself to give it a trial. That she had to calm down with time after she discussed with her husband and also looked up LIFT website. That now she considers me one of them and her friend. She asked if we will be having end of year party for all our respondents so they can meet themselves and network. Told her I will forward her suggestion to management.


On my visit to the firm for the schedule weekly interview, the respondent told me that she has been under pressure for some days now from her friend who gave her loan to purchase livestocks. The respondent didn’t expect that the friend will need the money now as she had hoped to pay back the loan next year. But as it is now, she said she will sell back the livestocks without much profits in order to raise money to pay her friend.


While administering the special Event Survey during one of my scheduled session at a palm kernel oil production firm today, the firm owner disclosed there had been a reduction in the price of processed palm kernel oil and its residue cake by #300 each tin and #200 per bag respectively since my last visit. She had to resort to persistent bargains, to try cushioning unanticipated losses, which would have been slightly higher. Also, on set sit at home day, she disclosed having to safely observe all morning, the level of movement and inadherence around her environs before trekking to firm later on Monday.


  This firm owner got 2 new machines, the maize peeler and the maize grinder he was very happy because he said he has always wanted to get the machines because none of the milling firms around him has it.












Respondent has a bakery firm, she indicated interest and has been responsive with giving her financial transactions and she said she would like to know how well she is doing in her business, I reminded her that it is a year’s study. She said it’s 5months already and suggested that L-IFT should at least be able to come up with that.

So respondent requested that I reach out to L-IFT to go through her records and tell her how she has been performing in her business.


  Firm is a shoe making firm, I met firm owner while he was making and filing one of the shoes he made.

Picture was taken with respondent’s permission.









My session at the medical laboratory started with firm owner and Medical Director expressing deep happiness at receiving promised phone token. In the special events survey, she disclosed being seriously ill alongside her baby the past 2 weeks meaning they visited the hospital for diagnosis and treatment since of her severe typhoid fever and baby’s acute measles where she spent a bunch of her personal money.

She disclosed some decrease in firm’s income in the form of some discount offered 3 customers, which firm had to inevitably, thereby reducing expected income. For increase in price of supplies, she had to bargain a slightly reduced price before buying.


In one of my sessions yesterday with my supervisor at a Carpentry and furniture production firm, we observed a noticeably angry customer probe firm owner on why her order of kitchen chairs and saving boxes which she buys wholesale to go sell retail was yet completed, to which firm owner listened calmly, assuring her she won’t need to come back as her order will be delivered at her business premises.

The firm owner as always was happy and forthcoming, even showing off 2 work designs he had planned out.


During my interaction with the respondent, he complained that some people who paid part payment have refused to complete the payment. They have been giving him excuse of not having money due to the economy of the country. The unpaid balance according to the respondent would have been his profit which he suppose to use to purchase more raw materials for the business


Finally I was able to meet up with this firm owner today after 4 weeks of absence due to his father’s death. I was able to get 4 weeks of financial transactions record from him, it took a lot of time.


It takes so much courage to share personal information especially ones that can make you cry.
It was an emotional moment with this respondent today. She’s one of my most committed respondents.
During the special event Survey, I asked how has the profit of the business been in the past 2 weeks. Her response was in a affirmative and she added ” I hope the devil won’t bring up issues ”

She generates money but hardly saves.A lot of things she shared with me and I saw her wailing. She professed that by keeping records has helped her realise how much she makes from her business but she’s into so many loans. Recently she collected loan to renew her rent even when she can generate her annual rent in a week. According to her, she has been the bread winner of the family and practically provides everything because her husband’s business has been having issues. It’s painful for her that even her shop rent, she has to take a loan. Meanwhile, I got fabrics from her last week to sew for myself and got some today to sew for Precious Ita too. 🥰🥰 because it’s yuletide.


If you are in Nigeria, you must have been seeing funny video clips where people say this December, some people are planning to run away with people contribution (Money). It sounds funny and it happens in reality.This my respondent joined 2 informal saving groups known as ajo. One she contributs weekly and the other monthly. This comes from money generated from the firm. Her intention is to buy stonning machine since she’s into fashion design. In the monthly Contribution, she has saved N80,000 with the intention that by December, she would have saved N100,000 so she can add the savings in her weekly Contribution and get the machine.

Men and brethren, this is 2 months they’ve not seen the woman they make contribution to and she stopped coming around. Her number is no longer reachable. Last week she told me they saw the woman finally and asked her about their money.

The headlines is that the woman used their money for an investment hoping she gets interest and return their money but the investment failed. No hope of getting her money for now and she’s not alone. They’re legion. Please, as you go to bed tonight pray for my respondent.


The respondent is into pastries. She said she has made some major expenses this week. Also said she didn’t have time to write in the book we gave her but wrote in her own book. Said she has noticed that customers patronise her more at the ending of the month and beginning of a new month and she has concluded that it’s when they freshly receive their salary. So she makes more pastries at this period.


The respondent said she didn’t open on Saturday because her girl was sick and since Saturdays are usually half day and they don’t have much patronage they didn’t open. She was very happy to recieve the phone from LIFT and said she will stay till the end of the study


The respondent was very happy as I gave her the phone from LIFT she kept jumping and shouting and hugging me and thanking LIFT. Praying for them that they will receive more than what they have given her.


This respondent runs a school. On my last visit for weekly reporting, she said she is busy and cannot attend to me. She said she had uniforms to sort out and she is also printing documents that they will use for exams since she doesn’t have a secretary to do that for now as she cannot afford the additional salary for a secretary


This respondent runs a business center. In the course of the Formalization survey session, firm owner disclosed reason Firm remained informal was due to a lack of resources and the stress of going through the official process of Formalization which he intended to proceed with sometime in 2022.

He also revealed there really are no advantages staying informal because at times, he experiences harassment from ‘area boys’ and municipal thugs resulting in random levies and extortions from touts and miscreants around.


For this firm into rice processing, firm owner lamented that the only benefit of formalization for her business thus far was avoidance of undue problems, embarrassments or firm closure, implying that firm was yet to get any incentives whatsoever even with the exorbitant nature of the process, disclosing that officers of formalisation agencies especially at the local government level had demanded kickbacks and bribes to waive the process and give firm statutory certification.
Firm owner joked that one top official had even demanded a bag of rice as bribe.


This particular firm is into all kinds printing and disk burning. I was suppose to see him by 3pm yesterday as usual, he is very detailed and cooperative in giving financial report of his business. So when I called him yesterday, he said he won’t be available at the shop because his wife is ill and asked if we can have our interview over the phone and I said yes.

After the whole interview, I thank him and asked how his wife is doing and he narrated what happened to me. He said his wife had a stillbirth 😭 which led to bleeding and was hospitalised since last week Friday. Right within me, I became cold, because of the situation of things. But then he said she is responding to treatment and I wished her a quick recovery and thanked my respondent for giving me listening ears despite all he’s been through.


This firm is a school with the admin officer as my respondent as he has an in-depth knowledge of the organization. The owner is not fully available to run the activities of the school. They have an educational consultant who also assists in making the administration of the school hassle-free. Last week as I was with my respondent recording FT and also administering the other surveys he made me realize that they are preparing for exams and they will be closing for the year on the 10th of December. He had to cut me short on the several surveys and ask that he attend to them at our next meeting. On Monday as I got to his firm he was busy sorting and marking examination scripts and rescheduled our meeting till Wednesday.


I usually visit this firm every Monday and I noticed he was not present this Monday but I was able to get his FT, I noticed an ongoing renovation of his workshop which he shared with me some months ago. Yesterday I stopped by his firm as I need to fix my luggage box and handbag and to also present him his gift from LIFT. He was still not present so I placed a call through. After our discussion, he just told me thieves broke into his workshop on Saturday/Sunday and stole some new shoes, customers’ bags, and other items. He said he has gone to the police station and he is always reporting to the police station since Monday and probably till the time they get to the root of the matter. I could feel his pain and I showed empathy. He also said some of the customers that their items got stolen were not taking it lightly with him and some other customers were understanding and even bringing in other items for repair. He concluded that he would fix a burglar-proof where the thieves broke into and hope that the thieves get caught.


This is a laundry firm, he has three employees, though employees only come when they have laundry to do, so they are usually not always at the firm and sometimes, the work overnight. Respondent pays individual worker based on work done.


This is a photocopy firm that also retails stationery as well. Respondent complained bitterly about one of her workers, she said the lady resumes late, she said she (firm owner) mostly sweeps the firm herself before the lady comes to work and she is usually the first to pick up her bag to leave once it’s close to her close hour.

She said there was a time a customer came in and it was few minutes to the lady’s closing time, she said her worker told the customer that they had closed for the day, it was the firm owner and the other employee that called the woman back and attended to her. She said the lady had spoilt her big generator by putting on all the machines at once. She said she is noticing that the lady takes from her money, but she’s not so sure of that yet.

She told me that the lady on two occasions had come to work and printed her CV from her system, with firm owner’s paper, then told the firm owner that she needs to go and submit her CV to another organization, she did this twice after resuming late. Firm owner said her husband and son are asking her to let the lady go, but she is holding back because she feels pity for her since the employee has financial and marital issues. She was really glad when I asked for her permission to speak with one of her employees, she asked me to speak to that particular lady and help ask the lady if it is in the questionnaire; “if she is really happy working here, if she is fine with the pay, if she intends to leave and what she feels her boss is doing wrong or right, just questions in that line.”

I told her the survey is not centered on that, so she just excused us.

He could not be interviewed today because he lost his sister in-law and he’s mourning her. His employees opened the firm but he wasn’t there.

She got her phone today from L-IFT and she sends her gratitude, she also told me it arrived on time when she needed it the most because her phone was faulty

This firm is temporarily closed due to bird flu ravage

This firm is temporarily closed due to bird flu ravage

He granted permission before his employee could do the employee PPI survey his record always up to date.

He granted permission before his employee could do the employee PPI survey.

Firm owner looked pale and ill and was on medication trying to recover from blood pressure spike, as my Supervisor and I listened patiently with empathy. She narrated having collapsed on Saturday while at work before being rushed to the public hospital where she was revived, with diagnosis showing her blood pressure had increased sharply, after which she got prescribed drugs and have been following medication since then

She sadly narrated having to stay in constant worries, in her words ‘her husband is an invalid and very heavy alcoholic meaning she is shouldering childcare responsibilities alone recently.

For her new savings plan, she disclosed her intention to revive her long abandoned piggery farm before April 2022 in her quest to increase her sources of income.

The respondent was busy with a lot of clothes to make. During the formalisation survey she said being part of an association is time consuming as they require you to be part of certain things compulsorily like meetings and attendance of ceremonies

During formalization Survey respondent said she joined association because she believes that it is faster and easier to hear their voice as a group than individually. That government listen to them more as a group than they would have done individually.
When I asked about savings goal she said she wants to put up a sign board and print complimentary cards as well as do some necessary official registeration for her business within next year. I also gave the respondent the gift from L-IFT and she was very happy to get the tab. She called it a Christmas package and thanked everyone.

The respondent is making Christmas clothes but there was no light when I came and it was hot so she was not very comfortable. She however said this year is not like other years in terms of turn up of people who make clothes for Christmas

The respondent is a proprietress of a school. She said her mother is sick and at the hospital and she needed to go and see her. That she came around because I was coming. We had to move the surveys to next week.

The respondent said that people have been withdrawing money from his account with POS without his knowledge and he never knew because the line in which he gets alerts was the one stolen and he is yet to retrieve the line. He therefore lost almost 100,000 from withdrawalss overtime that he was unaware of. He said he had to close the account and open a new one with the line he is presently using. That the money is money people paid him to use and work for them. That now he doesn’t know what to do.
Respondent said he opened a new account in the same bank that he was stolen from that he has used the bank for a long time and doesn’t want to change it. He was busy with some urgent work so we moved the surveys

The respondents said they lost their uncle and the burial date has been fixed for 6th and 7th of January. They said they will likely be in their village when they travel for Christmas till the week after the burial


During the special event Survey, the respondent told me that the firm has no employee currently. One of the employees stopped coming to work 3 weeks and later called the firm owner on phone to inform her that she has gotten another job. The other two employees went back to school last week.
At the moment the firm owner manages the firm alone but the husband do come to assist her sometimes.The firm is however currently in search of a computer operator.

The respondent sold some of her livestocks to raise money to repay back the loan she took from her friend due to the pressure the friend mounted on her last week. Though she sold the livestocks without profits, she said she was happy to have paid back her loan and now has peace of mind.

 This firm is a baker who makes and sells bread to businesses and individuals. He does different types of thrifts, from weekly to daily to monthly thrifts. I have lost track of his several thrifts as he accused me of wanting to know too much about his firm. About two weeks ago he told me about a thrift that was his turn to cash out but the Thrift cashier has not given him as he is the last in the group to cash out. The cashier keeps promising and not fulfilling his promise. I was hoping to share the good news this week if he was able to get his money unfortunately the cashier told him never-ending stories. He told me the thrift is a total sum of N196,000 which he already budget to fix his delivery car. The car is in a bad shape but he keeps managing and fixing any glitch that would ground the car pending the time he gets his money from the cashier. He is so unhappy with how he has not yet gotten his cash as he doesn’t have any other means of fixing the car quickly






The respondent suspended one of her employees for disobedience. According to her, she asked the apprentice to go and deliver clothes to customers but the apprentice refused. When she enquired to know her reason, she told the firm owner that she paid to learn work and not to run errands. The respondent said that she could not cope with a disobedient apprentice and so she decided to suspend her for two weeks.


The respondent told me that she lost 2 Pigs as a result of carelessness of the veterinary expert she called to administer drugs to the Pigs. The expert carelessly administered overdose of the drugs to the pigs and this led to to their death. According to the firm owner, both Pigs were worth forty thousand naira each.

She got her phone gift from L-IFT and was excited about it. She signed the consent form, granted permission for 1 of her employees to be interviewed and formalization survey was also done. I met her producing some of her organic cosmetics and soap as well.


Firm owner looked both exhausted and anxious on managing production challenge before him.

He complained about the challenge of faulty electrical meter for his line, meaning he has not had electricity from the grid a while now and resorts to running power generator which he isn’t happy about.
He solicited assistance in solving his electricity challenge. He also complained in the special Event Survey about the sharp #500naira increase in the price of high density fibre board, in between just 24-hours of purchase as according to him, there was no reason whatsoever for suppliers to uniformly Jack up price of items.

In all, notwithstanding his busy schedule and seeming unhappiness, he participated willingly in all surveys and also instructed his employee to grant consent and answer all questions for the Employee PPI Survey.


My very dedicated and diligent respondent who’s into Laundry and drycleaning services. Always gives me nice reception whenever I visit. Let’s take a walk on the few things he shared with me since the beginning of the project.

History of the firm.

He started this business shortly after his graduation from Polytechnic. Then he owned a corolla sport car and was working for an organisation and still working there currently but on part-time. Things became tough when he gave birth to the first child. Because of his experience in the laundry business while in school he decided to start his business. Because he had no capital, he sold his car and used the money to rent shop and got washing machine and other few things to begin. Just like the biblical narration of one who found hidden treasures and sold all he had to get it. He sold his too.

When we started, it was difficult to get clear information from him as he was skeptical about the research but now his mind is wide open like the desert. He tells me everything.

*During the COVID-19* – *Did* *he receive palliative? OF* COURSE HE DID!

Things were difficult at the time and businesses were closed. Because many persons were not going out frequently, and even if they were, only a few brought their clothes for washing and drycleaning. Things were difficult for him.

The palliative – One of his most dedicated customers sent him N100,000 through transfer. (EARLIER THAN EXPECTED RIGHT?)
It wasn’t a free money but for him to keep with his family while the customer will continue to bring his clothes for services and they will keep deducting from the money.

P.S. This wasn’t requested from my respondents.
He was very happy for this and the money has been cleared off even before we started with him.
Unsolicited support but timely. Recently every month, he add up all his income and expenses. This enables him to know how much profit he’s making from his business. He said.

His dedication to his business and packaging after ironing is second to none. He has done many ironing and washing for me and each time I wear them, I get good remarks. 😂😂🥰🥰🥰🥰.

Wednesday this week, he complained of not having a stable employees. His employees are usually paid on piece rate. He’s still placing adverts. He also told me that because of my question on “Which activities he spent most times in in the past two weeks ” and I always ask about posting on social media and talking to new clients, he has started posting his services on his WhatsApp status. I enjoy most of your questions he added.


My firm owner (a wood sawing and Carpentry firm) though looking very tired, took out time to narrate his experience going to a bush site earmarked for construction to fell 2 trees and lumber wood off site within the week.
According to him, aside the stress involved, it was a far cheaper and economical source of raw materials than buying wood outrightly from the wood marts around for production.

He took out time after the Financial reporting and survey sessions to detail his experiences and successes from his time back at the Government technical school and college of education (Technical), as the only successful entrant majoring in carpentry and wood work, including his entry into the business professionally at the timber shed, without going through apprenticeship.

He ended the session by showing off some complex circular design he made from the normal wood sawing machine as shown below and solicited assistance in the form of design machines to boost his work.

My respondent who hasn’t been around some weeks now appeared unhappy and engrossed most of the time in her personal/family challenges, reliving her husband’s terminal illness which had kept her in the village past 1 month; according to her, she was emotionally drained.

During the Formalization survey, she stated not making profits really, as she felt spending money on those registrations was a waste of her scarce resources.

She described her business as informal and indicated the only advantage of staying informal as helping her cut the levies she would pay since these registrations warrant constant financial levies.







The firm has not worked for 2 days now due to the fault developed by the firm’s lister generator 2 days ago. The firm is not connected to the national grid and depends solely on the generator for its operation. The respondent was unhappy that this had prevented him from completing his customers works and delivering them at the agreed time.


The respondent told me during our interaction that thieves broke into his farm and made away with some of his farm implements. The prompt intervention of the security guards, however prevented the thieves from taking away his livestocks. He said he will adopt a more strict security measures to avoid future occurrence.

Respondent owns a photocopying and printing firm where she also take passport photographs.

She usually complains about the site of her shop, she said the location is bad for her business. She said she had a better location within same area before but because she had health concerns, she stopped going to the then shop, but when she had recovered and wanted to continue the business, the space had been given out, she said she tried to get another in a similar position, but the spaces were all taken, so she had to go for her current space now, she complains that it is really bad for her business, compared to how her business was before now.

A laundry firm, his workers come to work when they have customers’ wears to work on, apart from doing laundry, firm also does house and office cleaning. He pays them based on the amount of work they do.

Firm does photocopying and printing. Direct Image printing, printing on cars, all sorts of printing. He looks forward to growing his business.