How youths make in­ter­lock­ing pavers to evade un­em­ploy­ment

Daily Trust - - BUSINESS - By Fran­cis Arinze Iloani

As a way out of the na­tion’s ris­ing un­em­ploy­ment rate, some youths have found a way of ek­ing out a liv­ing through the pro­duc­tion of in­ter­lock­ing con­crete pavers.

When Daily Trust vis­ited the youths’ road­side “fac­tory” along the Loko­goma axis of the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory, Abuja, they were seen pro­duc­ing dif­fer­ent sizes and de­signs of the in­ter­lock­ing pavers, which are brick-like pieces of con­crete com­monly used as ex­te­rior floor­ing.

One of them, Jikka Austin, re­vealed that he re­alised three years ago that he could com­fort­ably earn a liv­ing by en­gag­ing him­self in man­ual labour while ad­vanc­ing his ed­u­ca­tion.

Austin said as the dire un­em­ploy­ment sit­u­a­tion stared him in the face, he de­cided to pur­sue entrepreneurship, which ne­ces­si­tated his ac­qui­si­tion of skills on mak­ing in­ter­lock­ing tiles.

Af­ter ap­pren­tice­ship, the young man delved straight into self-em­ploy­ment and has not looked back since. As he en­thused, the trade has not only given him some sort of ful­fi­ment in be­ing his own boss and meet­ing his needs, it has greatly aided him in fi­nanc­ing his ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.

Speak­ing in Hausa, another youth who is also en­gaged in the busi­ness, Vic­tor Jikka, ex­plained that the busi­ness is thriv­ing in Abuja as 80 per­cent of houses built in the city have in­ter­locks in their com­pounds.

Jikka was wor­ried that many youths in their teens and twen­ties idling away due to un­em­ploy­ment seem un­aware of the busi­ness, which he said does not re­quire much cap­i­tal to start.

Sham­man Ti­tus told Daily Trust that the in­ter­lock­ing pavers fac­tory can be set up with less than N500,000, which, he ad­vised, a group of youths can team up to set up.

On how the con­crete pavers are made, Ti­tus ex­plained that a mix­ture of con­crete, ce­ment and chipets are mixed, moulded in rub­bers of dif­fer­ent shapes and al­lowed to dry.

Depend­ing on style, some colour­ing agents can also be ap­plied in the mix­ure to pro­duce the re­quired colour pavers, usu­ally in de­sired pat­terns.

Daily Trust ob­served that the youths, mostly in their 20s, were not us­ing the in­ter­lock­ing pavers-mak­ing ma­chine and other ma­chin­ery that could con­sume elec­tric­ity, fuel or gas.

This means that the cost of op­er­at­ing the fac­tory is min­i­mal and can be set up with lit­tle cap­i­tal.

High­light­ing the chal­lenges in run­ning such a fac­tory, another young Nige­rian work­ing there, Yusuf Us­man, said the cost of ce­ment and other ma­te­ri­als for mak­ing the pavers could be a chal­lenge when­ever there is a rise in their mar­ket value.

Us­man said the ab­sence of any source of wa­ter con­sti­tutes a chal­lenge to them, as wa­ter is a ma­jor re­quire­ment for their work. The in­dus­tri­al­ists buy drums of wa­ter ev­ery morn­ing be­fore com­menc­ing work to en­sure hitch-free pro­duc­tion.

Be­sides the cost of ma­te­ri­als as a chal­lenge, Ti­tus men­tioned ex­tor­tion by gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who, he lamented, visit their “fac­tory” ev­ery month to ex­tort monies from them. If the young men fail to “co­op­er­ate”, the of­fi­cials, Ti­tus al­leged, they would seize their work­ing tools, which they hold on to un­til they are given money.

Gideon Mon­day, who was en­grossed with work and rarely spoke all through the in­ter­view, fi­nally opened up when the is­sue of youths idling at home due to un­em­ploy­ment came up.

Mon­day ad­vised youths to learn skills, even as he en­cour­aged them to ven­ture into in­ter­lock­ing pavers mak­ing. “Some are sim­ply lazy. They don’t want to work hard in the sun as we are do­ing. We work in the sun and we get what we want,” he said.

Photo: Fran­cis Arinze Iloani

The youths work­ing on the in­ter­lock­ing pavers along Loko­goma axis of Abuja.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.