According to Ilysau, who sells recharge cards and also operates a phone call centre at El-Rufai Park at Area 1.
The advent of GSM has helped greatly in reducing the problem of unemployment in the country. He told Daily Trust that, even though he has only primary school certificate and can barely read and write, he is happy he “counts money” he earns daily through the sale of recharge cards.
“When I left my village in Bauchi State for Abuja about five years ago in search of employment, I was hopeless because I knew that even those who were more qualified than I were roaming the streets without jobs. But thanks to God, I started by doing menial jobs on the streets and I saved about N5,000.
I was able to start this business with the money, and today I can feed myself and even send money to my relatives in the village”, said Ilyasu.
Also, Gbenga Atiba of Agric bus stop in Ikorodu, Lagos, has a good story to tell unemployed youths. Atiba said he makes N1,000 daily from the business of card selling and phone calls. “Well, to some extent the business is fair not good as before because I remember when I started the phone calls I used make like N5,000 daily.
Then not many people were having personal phones and lines. But now we are just using it as complementary to the recharge card business. One hardly makes N1,000 a day now depending on the network you are using. The call card is not that profitable, what makes it lucrative is the fact that it sells fast and you know anything that moves fast like that will not keep your money in business stagnant and you know as one is ploughing back you can stay successful in business while you keep making N5-10 as profit on each card sold,” he said.
On the network he uses to do his business, Atiba has this to say: “I use Glo and Airtel to do the call business, I am on 2good plan of Airtel and the charge is about N12 per minute to other networks while Airtel to Airtel is about N5.00 and at times if a customer calls an Airtel line for less than 30secs they charge like N2.00 but Glo is more expensive, it is N15 parallel and am even using Glo business line.
MTN is the worst and I don’t even think anybody uses MTN for business but Etisalat too is okay, I have a friend that is using it, it’s about N12.00 they charge.
“Some people make calls for N10 per minute especially where there are many people doing the phone call business but I make it N20.00 per minute.
But for those that are doing it for N10, it is not profitable for them but because they want customers that is why they are doing it and they can only make from those customers that make few seconds calls.
When a customer makes a call of 20-30 seconds we charge for one minute so they can make up from that.
“The business is saturated because of poverty and lack of employment in the country and the business is easy to do, it doesn’t require huge capital.
One doesn’t have to go extra mile to start it, though depending on the level at which one is starting but whichever way it is, it’s easy. If you look around you, you will see people in offices, bus stops, motor parks selling recharge cards and making commercial calls.
Sometimes people that patronize the phone centre do have money on their phones but due to bad network, you try to call somebody, the number is not going and you need to get to that person because of that urgency, you say okay let me try it through another line and come to the business centre.
And it works, many at times, you are calling a line the network will tell the number is not available or the network is busy and when you try it from a business line it will go.”
Another business centre operator, Miss Adijat Bakare of Ogba in Lagos said she is into the phone call and recharge card business simply to earn a living.
“I believe it is better than stealing or flirting around with men, at least I eat my three square meals without problem and am even making daily contribution,as savings, so what else do I want.
I came to Lagos in 2005 to stay with my sister and one way or the other she had problem with her husband the man sent her away.
She started squatting around and I had to find my way too because I didn’t want to go back to the village. So, a friend of mine suggested to me the phone call business and I started making calls with the recharge card on my phone. In 2008, I added the recharge cards selling to it with N5.000 and today I have like N20,000 capital.
So it is okay to me even though the profit has dropped compared to when I started the business, not many people were into it at that time,” Bakare told Daily Trust.
Gloria Chukwumah said ladies who prostitute in Abuja should stop and try their hands on recharge card business.
She said selling recharge cards and SIM cards as well as operating call centre in places like Wuse market, Jabi park and some other highly populated business areas in the FCT, would make them independent of any man who may want to use “them and dump them” simply because they loiter around.
Gloria told Daily Trust that she started the business with only N2,500 three years ago and today, she said, “I have more than N30,000 from the business.” According to her, she makes about N2,500 daily as profit and plans to employ a lady to work for her very soon.
She, however, appealed to President Goodluck Jonathan to call the overzealous security operatives to order because, “they now make the business unprofitable because of frequent arrests and extortion of money from pretty traders like us.”
The business, as some of the “umbrella people” revealed, may not be as profitable as expected but it is agreed that it is a ‘moving business’, one you are always sure of making daily sales.
Source: allafrica news