At this rice destoning factory today, my respondent, the firm’s co-owner gladly disclosed that their much-expected new and bigger factory site was opened mid-last week and is running well, with the equipment and stock of 1 (the expired) of the twin factory site transferred to a new site. At the same time, employees have started redirecting major customers to the new factory, with customers revealing being more comfortable with larger factory space.
We took a walk down to the new factory site as she expressed gratitude to the current factory owner who had conveniently put up with their continued use of the evacuated factory space on expiration since January.
She sought the help of L-IFT in currying much-needed investments while indicating plans to diversify into kernel processing and livestock production, expressing their desire to attract investors so as to maximize large factory space in the months ahead fully.
Attached below are pictures from the new factory.
During the past few days, it has been difficult times for this firm due to an unstable electricity supply, it is a corn milling firm that relies mainly on electricity to power its machines, on getting there yesterday I found the engines, the employees busy working after days of redundancy, I saw excitement and satisfaction in the eyes of the employees and customers alike.
However this ephemeral excitement was short-lived- the power supply was interrupted, compelling everyone to wait again.
One interesting thing that caught my fancy is the red corn variety, I learned that it is lower in calories and hence healthy for diabetes patients.
My supervisor and I visited this respondent.
This firm owner is into carpentry. He was given a contract for Kitchen decorations and also to fix the kitchen sink so he executed the contract but the customer rejected the kitchen sink so he have to buy another one to replace the one the customer rejected.
This firm owner is very dedicated when it comes to this project.
So after a very long while this firm had a finished product on display. Remember this is a firm owned by one of my respondents who is almost 80 years old and was given a token by someone to boost his business. Even though he has not sold any of the products we hope by my next visit it will be good news. This is an electric stove/oven.
Today was an emotional day at the firm. One of their old staff was leaving because she was going for the compulsory youth service Corp and was posted to another state. They had a small farewell get-together to celebrate her commitment and stay at the firm. The firm also lost one of its staff who died after a brief illness last week.
Code: NG526, NG113
In my financial reporting sessions at these firms in a kernel oil processing cluster today, both firm owners surprisingly echoed the same sentiment in the respective sessions, of not being comfortable with the rising price of their processed kernel oil.
According to each of them, it only meant a corresponding increase in the price of raw materials which never translates to a commensurate product yield especially recently, which could result in losses.
The greatest fear of the firm owner when she moved to this location early this month was that she may not be having customers. On my scheduled visit to the firm, the firm owner narrated with great joy how customers have been coming since she relocated to this location. She attributed this to the fact that she sent messages to all her major customers informing them that she has relocated to another place and also added the address of the new location to the messages.
According to her, this new location is showing a good prospect that business will be very good compared to the other location.
This firm owner is into the blacksmith business. Today I visited the firm for the usual interview and found out that he has many items that he produces just as displayed in the pictures.
This is a bakery firm. The firm has been asking for a summary of how she has been doing in her business. She called me recently and was almost crying on phone (I can’t tell if she was, she just sounded so), she was complaining that business has been bad and she’s been in talks with people that she wants to sell her equipment and that she would be closing her firm and one of her workers was stealing from her (she didn’t sound like she was assuming). Then she mentioned that NYU would possibly not see the firm since she would have closed before their visit. She said the only reason we would meet her would be if she didn’t get buyers.
I expressed my sympathy at how bad she felt about her business and scheduled an appointment for Saturday with her. Coincidentally, the prospective buyers came while I was there, so I excused them after they were done, my respondent called me back in and told me her prospective buyer encouraged her to keep on with her business and that the challenge is currently the same with smallscale business owners.
When conducting the Special Event survey, I asked her if she was being extorted by her employees, she said she was not sure and that she just assumed since business has not been too pleasant for her.
At this new rice processing factory today, the firm owner and co-owner who had been pondering all year an increase in the price of the service the firm sells after comparing prices with their competitors, had to finally bring it into effect today, passing notice of the increase at both processing factories.
Customers though didn’t take the increase lightly and I observed as both couple owners tried explaining to and placating customers who argued, in trying to come to terms with the firm’s increase in the cost of processing from N100 (0.23 USD) to N150 (0.34 USD) per bushel of rice, due to the rising cost of firm’s daily operations including diesel, staple thread, and other process inputs.
On a lighter note, she joked that since the new factory opened last week, every customer that comes to the new factory doesn’t want to take goods to the other factory not far off for processing.
This firm owner into palm kernel oil production today lamented the recent scarcity of viable raw materials which was affecting both prices and oil yield, notwithstanding the increase in the price of processed oil.
According to her, she preferred lower product prices with more availability of raw materials and better yield, than the recent trend.
She also noted that in obedience to the recent letter from agents of IPOB to the production cluster’s market union indicating their observation of subtle non-compliance with Monday’s sit-at-home order and warning them of a risk of attack, she and other producers now stayed back home to rest on Mondays.
This firm is into laundry services, and started operations in the year 2020. One of his major goals this year is to increase his customer base. When I got to his firm last week he has done a very big banner he said will serve as an awareness for passersby and people around his firm, he is also planning to employ a marketing staff very soon.
The respondent is a tailor. She had earlier complained last week that the rain affected their light and made it low voltage which couldn’t carry any of her appliances and this made working next to impossible for her since she started using her electric industrial machine this year. Today when we met She was lively and said business is going well and their light has been fixed so she can work more. She however complained about the number of hours they have light in a day that which has grossly reduced.
You may remember this respondent. She runs a school and her mother had brain surgery earlier this year. While reporting and asking about her well-being today she told me her mother has been released from the hospital because they (she and her siblings) were starting to complain about funds (the hospital they took her to is well known for brain surgeries and even have foreign experts consulting there but is quite expensive) but she still goes for checkups.
This respondent has had a series of unpleasant events around her recently. About a week ago she told me how her main employee who does most of the sewing has been sneaking out behind her back to sew for another person who used to bring clothes for them to make for her. When she found out last week she confronted him and they had a major misunderstanding after which he told her he had gotten a job somewhere else. For now, he said he will only come early morning to teach the apprentice. She was really unhappy about the development. She said she hasn’t been around since as her brother’s wife was put to bed and had complications. That she only resumed that day. She also said she is thinking of changing the business line. Leaving sewing and going into the sale Of tailoring materials, textiles and weaving. Today, she told me two of her apprentices are sick and one has even been placed on bed rest because she is pregnant and was having complications.
This firm is into herbal production, herbal clinic, and treatment plus consultation. Attached here are some of the products and he approves of the picture.
Some two weeks ago, this respondent said this period has been very difficult for her business like never before. Only God knows how she is managing. She said her apprentice that is usually around is planning her traditional marriage so wasn’t around often anymore. Today, she informed me that the same apprentice has gone to NYSC camp on Saturday so she has been the only one around except for Saturdays when the other apprentices come.
The respondent said she has never had a period where she had no apprentice or employee working with her until now. She was alone in her shop when I got there. She however said she has had at least 8 people come in to ask about requirements for starting an apprenticeship so she is hopeful she will have a full house soon. One apprentice just got admission and is running around for it. One is going for JAMB lessons while one is sick and another is in her final year is school so doesn’t have a lot of time. These are the consistent ones.
The respondent was available when I visited on Friday. Said she has found teachers to replace the ones that left. She was still a lot under the weather and looking sick. That was the first reporting we did in the past 4weeks because the respondent has been consistently unavailable.
Today at this laundry firm, I met the firm owner sleeping and after exchanging greetings, she was unhappy all through the session, attributing depression due to slow business and some private issues.
According to her, she was fed up with business in recent weeks.
Earlier this year when we administered the Aspiration survey, one of the major goals of this firm was an expansion. On getting to the firm on Monday, the first thing that caught my attention was the delivery van. I got to speak with the admin staff who opened up to me that the production department of the business is in shape now and that by the weekend they will move production to the site. While this present location will be for customers’ drop off and pick up.
During my last week’s visit to this firm, thankfully I was lucky to get the firm owner’s attention. I took the time to update the partial payments. He was able to give me information as regards the payment but for those who are yet to pay, he said some of those customers are calling him for his services but he told them to balance up their payments before he would discuss a new business with them. He mentioned that it is their usual manner but he won’t condone it anymore unless they pay him completely as he has delivered on his own job.
Today was a bit emotional when I visited this firm because I met them working outside the structure they have been using since we started this study. When I asked why the respondent told me the owner of the structure he was renting from sold it to another person. Thus the firm is now working without a structure. The respondent hopes to get money and rent a new place.
The project manager visited this firm today and some other firms. She got to know more details about the firm. Attached are some pictures from the production room of the firm. He has long-term plans to expand his business and do great for his firm.
I visited this firm that is into leather bag production yesterday, and after taking down her financial transactions for the week, she told me that she’s grateful for the incentive she got from L-IFT because she used the money to make Tags for her product.
This is a firm whose product has no tag on them before, but the incentive served as a motivation to the firm owner to start printing tags that have her business name on them.
Today was a scary day.
There happened to be a political rally close to the firm and thugs took over the rally. They harassed people and snatched phones and laptops from moving cars.
The respondent had to close and run to safety.
Election year is approaching and there is a bit of tension.