The current economic crisis in Nigeria is a very real one. It is a crisis that not just threatens to make the poor poorer, it also threatens to make the rich and the so-called middle class poor.
For instance, Africa’s richest man, our own Aliko Dangote, lost N1 trillion (and that was last year o). Today, lots of companies owe workers, salaries running into many months (how do the workers transport themselves to work, not to talk of feeding themselves, paying rent, school fees, etc?). And even at that, prices of common foodstuffs are skyrocketing, sometimes by the hour.
Everybody is feeling the heat, but by far the major victims are the private sector salary earners. One reason for this is because they are rarely allowed to form labor unions to fight for their interests.
As a result unlike the hawker out there who can decide to increase the price of his take-home by increasing the price of his goods, the price of the salary earner most times remains the same for years on end, even with the soaring inflation in Nigeria.
But the private sector worker has to learn to be creative if he is to survive. One of my friends was the other day telling me how the value of his salary decreases each time the dollar rises by another naira, and that is just what it is. The value of folks salaries are just turning to worthless paper.
So, how do they survive it (till some miracle happens to take us out of this economic nightmare)? The key is to have multiple streams of income. Mind you, some multiple streams are hard to enter, because the space is limited. So, what to do? Do this: Take an inventory of your office environment looking for either opportunities that you have long overlooked or needs your goods or services can fill.
One woman is currently doing this, and has considerably brightened her prospects of survival.
This woman works in an office which is an area enjoying light from an Independent Power Project (IPP). That means her office enjoys an incredible amount of electricity. So, in the midst of the present harsh economic situation, she suddenly added 2 and 2 together, realizing that everybody outside her office has to trek for about five minutes to get Cold pure water.
So, what she has decided to do is to invest in a small deep freezer, which she will partially stock with pure water sachets, so that instead of trekking long distances, people in her office and environs can come buy from her.
Also, she is arranging with a woman that normally walks a long distance everyday to spend N400 buying ice block for her soft drink business, for the woman to be purchasing the ice blocks from her instead – and she is discounting N50. So, our office worker will be making about N350 a day, enough at least to fund her transportation to work.
To private sector workers, the creation of a second stream of income is more important than ever. Even if it is just your transportation it funds, that is something. It doesn’t have to be deep freezer to supply ice blocks. There is a lot you can do to open a successful second stream of income.
If your boss spends N5,000 a day on recharge cards for calls, you could consider selling recharge cards in your office. If you can bake sweet cakes and they like cakes in your office, well? If it is chinchin you can fry well and they like it, why don’t you start selling it, and get them addicted’ to your chinchin? The key is to look at your office environment and ask yourself how you can use its opportunities or deficiencies to create a second stream of income in a way that is legal and doesn’t detract from your job performance.