Saturday, 14 January 2017

Economic Hardship: Meet the Nigerian University Graduate Who Sells Tea for a Living (Photo)

A young Nigeria Graduate has been found in an unlikely business that pays him well.
Aliyu Ahmed Kabir
 
Aliyu Ahmed Kabir is a 2013 Geology and Mining graduate of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi. He also earned a certificate in Environmental Health from the College of Health Technology, Ningi, Bauchi State.
 
The 28-year-old sells tea at a junction along Bebeji Road in Kafanchan, Kaduna State. He tells Daily Trust that he is satisfied with the profit he makes from the business.
 
Excerpts:
 
Daily Trust: What prompted you to start tea business?
 
Aliyu Ahmed Kabir:  First of all, my father had been in this business for a very long time, so I learned the business from him. And looking at the current economic reality in Nigeria, I reminded myself that it was with this business that my father sponsored my education and he is still doing well, so why not start the business since I know how to do it very well and age is no longer on my father’s side. 
 
I am not the choosy type. In fact, I get surprised when I see people with only a diploma or NCE who are choosy in their search for jobs. So, since one must search and wait for a long time to get employment in Nigeria, since there is no automatic employment for graduates upon leaving school, I decided to start this business.
 
DT: Will you drop this business if you get any government paid employment?
 
Aliyu: I can’t leave this business. Anywhere I find myself, I will try to start up a business that suits the setting. There are a lot of businesses apart from selling tea. If you look at our leaders, they all have one business or the other that serve as their alternative source of income. White collar job is not that reliable irrespective of the jumbo pay. If you don’t invest the money, as soon as you leave the job, you will come back to zero level. And you will end up spending what you saved. So, if I get a government job, I will accept it but I will invest in other businesses. Even now that I am selling tea, I do other businesses. I buy pepper from here and take it to states like Taraba and Adamawa to sell.
 
DT: Do you make enough profit from this business?
 
Aliyu: I thank God; the business is providing everything I need. As I told you, my father used this business to sponsor my education.  I bought plots of land at Bauchi and Adamawa states with this business; I also got my pepper business capital from this business. I buy many other things to resell with the money I make from this business, and I also do contracts.
 
DT: What challenges do you  face ?
 
Aliyu: I don’t have any specific challenge except the current reality on the cost of living which is characterized by economic recession and inflation. We used to sell a cup of tea for N80 but now it is N120, yet people have been very considerate because they still patronize us.
 
DT: What is your advice to the youth, especially graduates?
 
Aliyu: My advice is that they should start doing something to earn a living. Just because you have a certificate shouldn’t make you feel superior. You can get involved in your family business if you wish. In fact, acquiring knowledge is never meant for employment purpose, it is meant to prepare you very well to weather the storms and challenges of life. It is expected of you to impact positively on the society. These ethno-religious crises in Southern Kaduna are due to the idleness of our youth. 
 
Most times you see graduates sitting under the tree without thinking of how to be productive. For example, during this pepper harvesting season, a farm hand can make about N3, 000 daily but our graduates will feel too big to do this. And some of them will allow their wives to take part in the harvest to get money and feed them while they are out there doing nothing. So, I think it is time we start doing something productive to help ourselves because God will help you only when you have done your own part.
 
DT: What is your advice to the government?
 
Aliyu: No business will grow without peace and harmony, so my main concern is this lingering crisis around us. My advice to the government is to address this issue of ethno-religious crises holistically without fear or favour. Also, government should help us with startup capital because without funding, creativity and productivity will be wasted.
 
Via: Daily Trust

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