The biggest challenge in my manufacturing business is not power, or infrastructure, the biggest challenge is getting honest staff. Everyone we hire is appears to be on a mission to steal as much as possible. Inflated invoices, recording less than the actual number of units produced. The worst part of it all is that all the fraud we’ve uncovered is not done by a single person, it’s usually many staff who collude with each other, from production, to sales, to finance, even top management. There was a year I overhauled management 3 times in a year. But I’ve found a solution sha, I now use Indian management. So competent, so honest and so straightforward. I thought they were expensive at first with all the visa fees, accommodation, house staff, but now that losses due to staff theft have been reduced to a minimum, and efficiency increased, the Indian management has turned out to be cheaper than the previous Nigerian management. Now, all sensitive positions involving money go to Indians. Nigerians are only allowed in non-sensitive positions. I used to criticize companies like Dangote Group that hire so many Indians when there are many unemployed Nigerians, but now, I understand their decision.
My biggest challenge in the trading business is the same, getting honest staff. The form of trading occurs in the open market, and involves staff having access to huge sums of money running into a few millions. I know how much I pay to security companies to provide escorts for the staff, not to prevent robbery, but to ensure that the staff go straight to the bank to deposit the money after the day’s sales and not disappear with my money. This money spent on security companies is even enough to be declared as profit. We have to spend on CCTV, biometric scanners and other things that wouldn’t not be needed if staff weren’t looking for the slightest opportunity to steal.
It got so bad at a point that my main criteria for employing staff was no longer conpaetency but honesty. At least, competency and skills can be learnt, but once you’re dishonest, you’re dishonest.
We always complain of the economy and how they are no jobs. I know people abroad who would have loved to set up job creating businesses in Nigeria but they can’t because they can’t get any trustworthy person to run it.
I know people in Nigeria with so much money, they want to start factories and other job-creating businesses but they can’t because they are occupied elsewhere and can’t get any trustworthy person to run the business. So instead of investing in the real sector and creating jobs, they’ll just buy treasury bills, while the thieves are shouting no jobs.
Many big businesses would have been born in Nigeria if we could engage in partnerships, but we cant because you can’t trust anyone. This is one advantage the Indians and Lebanese have over us in Nigeria. They can pull resources together and do mega-business, unlike Nigerians that because only one person must do everything since we can’t partner, end up with small, tiny businesses.
Start a poultry and they will be stealing your eggs. Some will even go ahead to be killing the chickens so that they’ll be allowed to take them home.
Start an entertainment/viewing/game center and they’ll be pocketing your money. On the days you’re around at the business, the money realized will be x10 of the money realized when you’re not around.
Because they’re eating your money.
Lease out a vehicle to a driver to use and watch as he’ll finish you.
Start a restaurant, the same thing will happen. More than half of the total food ingredients will end up in their personal kitchens.
Even ordinary provisions shop, they will find a way to steal.
You’ll see them with that their evil, wicked saying “na where person dey work, na there e dey chop, na e make dem dey callam workchop/workshop”…… Just imagine, justifying theft at work.
And you’ll see these people point their crooked fingers at politicians when they’re not any different. I usually say the reason most Nigerians haven’t stolen billions of government money, is simply lack of opportunity.
Nigerians are the problem of Nigeria.