Like many university graduates, after completing his first degree programme, his efforts to get a white collar job were fruitless.
Oneonu Nnamd, 27, a 2008 graduate, is now comfortable as a successful furniture maker in Abuja.
Unlike in public job, he is not only the Managing Director of his outfit, he also doubles as the Chief Executive Officer, the accountant, the cashier and the company secretary.
Today, he sees white collar jobs as waste of time, since he earns more than a university graduate and he is an employer, while contributing to the Nigerian economy, in a way.
“After my service year, I started furniture business with initial capital of N40,000 which was the little money I was able to save but today, I know how much I am counting,” he said joyously.
Mr. Nnamd whose business is currently flourishing in Kugbo village of Abuja said: “Furniture making is a very lucrative business. When I ventured into furniture making two years ago, my plan was to be in it for some time and quit as soon as I get a while collar job but as time goes on I discovered that I am earning more than a graduate so I decided to stay put,” he said.
He told Daily Trust that they travel as far as Calabar, Ekiti and the boarder between Ghana and Nigeria to get the materials they are using and that they use Abora , Masony , Mahogany, Cida and Thicks wood that are of good quality.
According to him, “the business is good but it would have been better if the government ban the importation of furniture items. If that is done, small business would strive than what it is now. Our Nigerian products are better than foreign one because, after importing them from overseas, they would call us to come and amend them in their homes.
“There is high patronage at Kugbo furniture here. I sold an average of four to five beds in a day when there is market and each bed costs N45, 000. At the end of the month after deducting all the expense incurred in the course of production including monthly salary for my four employees, I make an average profit of N100, 000 which some graduates may not earn.
“Finance is the major challenge we are facing in this business because we need money to buy modern equipment. At least, one needs about N1.5 million to get the needed equipment for this work and because we don’t have modern equipment, we use manual labour to produce these items on display. What our people are importing from overseas are here in Nigeria and their patronage will improve our local industry. We can do better than this if we have modern equipment.”
He said he had not approached any of the micro finance and other banks because of the collateral security they usually demanded for and he would only go and seek for loan when he has collateral security.
We want the government to stop the importation of furniture into the country and provide enabling environment for small businesses to strive and also enable operators of the small scale business to access loan at both micro finance and other banks, he said.
Chibuzor Okoro, who also has a workshop at Kugbo said, he started as an apprentice before opening his own workshop.
“After learning the work, I started my own workshop. My first profit was N11, 000. So from there, the business keeps improving and now there is no month I would not realize at least N40, 000 profit.
Meanwhile, the Welfare Secretary of the Association of Kugbo Funiture, Livinus Ezeibe, has called on the government to give them permanent site and assist them in the area of finance so that they can get the necessary tools for their Job.
“When they introduced micro finance bank, we approached them for loan but we don’t have the collateral security they demanded. We depend on the little profits that we realize from the sales of our products.
“Also, they should stop the importation of furniture items so that small scale business can grow in the country. We are creating jobs here because every furniture maker has apprentices and about two or three employees feeding from them. So if the government can assist us, we can employ more than that.
“We are not being harassed by the government but we are paying levy to the Abuja Municipal Area Council. We carry our business without hindrance,” he said.
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