Importing From Dubai – First Hand Real Information From Active Players

khaDubai – a member of the United Arab Emirates – was once a sleepy fishing village nestling on the Persian Gulf. In the 1960s, it discovered oil and before you could pronounce the Jack Robinson cliché, it had undergone wholesale economic and social development that transformed it into the ultimate world class metropolis and elevated it to the premier business centre of the UAE region, with a Gross Domestic Product {GDP} of 55 billion pounds.

With more than 70 malls, it has earned the nickname of “shopping capital of the Middle East”. About 80 per cent of Dubai’s 2.3 million inhabitants are non-indigenous of the tiny city-state which has an area of under 1,600 square miles – just a little bigger than Ibadan.

Dubai is populated by mainly Indians who account for 42.3 percent of the population; Emiratis {sons of the soil} – 17 percent; Pakistanis – 13.3 percent; other Arabs – 9.1 percent; Bangladeshis – 7.5 percent; Filipinos – 2 percent; Sri Lankans – 1.5 percent, Europeans – 0.9 percent; Americans – 0.3 percent; and other countries – 5.7 percent. About 2000 Nigerians also live in Dubai.

Dubai as Nigeria’s trading partner
Nigerians ranks highest among African countries that travel to Dubai to import goods. Mr. Casmir Anachuna, a Dubai-based Nigerian businessman, says Nigeria ranks third among the nations of the world importing goods from Dubai, next to Russia and Iran. Trading interests among Nigerians are mainly but not limited to jewelry, textiles and spare parts.

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In Deira Park, an area known for spare parts, Nigerians from the eastern part of the country are a regular feature as they transact business, preparing way bills for their goods. Many work there as agents.

According to data recently released by UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Trade, UAE’s overall trade with six non-Arab African countries alone (Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, Ethiopia, South Africa and Tanzania) reached a whopping US$ 6.2 billion {Over N900 billion} in 2014.

Nigeria for example has become an important destination for UAE’s exports and re-exports. UAE’s trade with Nigeria recorded the biggest increase – among the six African countries mentioned above – doubling to US$863 million in 2009 from US$430 million the previous year.

Importing from Dubai

In today’s economy, people are searching for new ways to financially support themselves. Even if you are working, you are expected to look for alternative source of income. Importation of items that are important to many people remains one of the most lucrative businesses you can think of.

Anachuna says three major airlines – Emirates, Qatar and Ethiopian Airlines – offer daily flights from Lagos and Abuja to Dubai and that it is just about a seven-hour flight from Lagos.

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Fastest and cheapest means of bringing goods down to Nigeria

Mrs. Blessing Chukwu, Chief Executive Officer of IJ Costumes in Lagos says, “I can say it is by air cargo. Though you can still use container which is cheaper than cargo, but it is slow. You can’t go to Dubai with N100,000 and go for container. You would only tie your money down for weeks. Goods sent by cargo arrive Nigeria in one week. Some containers take about two months to get your goods into Nigeria.

“I travel most times via night flight; I get there around 3am and I will enter the market to start buying immediately, and after buying my goods, my agents will start packing that same night. I also put some of the goods in my bags, as hand carry or in my traveling bag and book a flight back to Nigeria. I don’t need to go back to my hotel; I can just relax where the agents are packing my goods waiting for the next night flight to come the next morning. The agents are there working tirelessly with a view to getting the goods ready for the next available cargo flight to load them. But if there are lots of goods waiting to be loaded before my goods, it is going to take more time to get my goods into Nigeria. This happens most especially during the seasonal periods like Christmas when so many people are traveling and their goods ready to be imported to Nigeria. There is law and order in Dubai, as they won’t load your goods ahead of someone who came before you”.

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Mrs. Folashade Oluwakemi, a business woman that travels to Dubai says shipping is cheaper. “I will advise that a new person going into the business for the first time should not use shipping but cargo because it is faster. If you ship, you can come with the sample of the goods you went to buy and you show it to people that you have this type of good coming on the sea. You start selling till the remaining goods come. But if you have a lot of capital one can do both shipping and cargo and will use the money used for shipping the product to complement money used in bringing the product to Nigeria through cargo”.

Mr. Umechukwu Tony, Importer/CEO, Zeton Integrated Service Ltd. Lagos, says, “Cargo is the fastest means, but it is more costly than bringing in goods by shipping with container. If you want to cargo goods from Dubai, it will take you one week, but for shipping, it takes nothing less than three weeks to get here depending on the kind of arrangements made.

“On the average, freight rates to Africa cost around $2200 to $2600 for a 20-foot container, which has a capacity of 21 tonnes. For a 40-foot container with a capacity of 26.5 tonnes, current rates are between $4900 and $5600”.

Mrs. Kudirat Salu who also imports from Dubai, says, “For those who just want to start importation and to make more profit in the business, I will advise they go for shipping because it is economical”.

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Requirements to start
Mr. Ndubuisi Okafor, a trade consultant says, “Before you can travel to Dubai, you need an international passport. Then, you approach a travel agency; they give you a visa application form and you fill in your personal details. They make a photocopy of the data page of your international passport and you can then go ahead and purchase your ticket. Once your visa application form has been submitted and you have purchased your ticket, you have to travel within two weeks or else your visa application form will no longer be valid and you will have to reapply. It is your visa application form that you will present at the Nigerian airport. It is at the point of entry into Dubai, that your visa will be stamped on your passport. Your visa is only valid for two weeks”.

Tony says, “Dubai importation requires getting your visa – which is easier than getting a Chinese visa. With a hundred and fifty dollars you can travel to Dubai, but the price differs from airline to airline. Dubai is free for everyone to import from, as there is nothing like collecting license because they want people to come to their country and they also want investors.

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“One can still get goods from Dubai, if he or she is not buoyant enough because of the constraint of paying for visa and ticket; simply by meeting someone who has been into the business. You can as well remit money to some good Nigerians there that can get the goods from the manufacturer. If you have good contacts in Dubai, you don’t even need to travel to Dubai. There are also agents that cargo goods. As a new entrant, you must be very careful not to deal with agents who may want to inflate prices for you. So, you have to make good and honest contacts before you set out”.

Alvan says, “Going to Dubai is no problem, if you have your international passport. Dubai belongs to an Arab Emirate and they do not have embassy in Nigeria, but what they do is electronic visa and they give business men and women 14 days visa, but for tourism, they give a month on arrival. Immediately, you collect your passport, you have to scan it and then, through someone who have residence there, you get the guarantee of staying within the period of 14 days and after it expires, they will have to hold that person. You know Nigerian law says you must not be in possession of money more than $5,000, so as not to look like you are out there for money laundry – all these are the needed requirements, no other charges. If I must inform you, if you don’t have anybody there to receive you, you have to look for somebody already in the business to link you up. It should be somebody that trusts you.

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“Let’s take for instance, you are not buoyant enough but you still want to go into the business; you can meet someone here doing Dubai importation, tell him what you want and he will get it for you. Also, we can do what is called online importation by searching for the manufacturer in Dubai and the goods you want to buy, make your order and contact them. Payment is very easy now – pay online with your credit card. Though, it might be good to go there yourself to order from the varieties of goods there”.

Salu says, “You need a valid passport, then you purchase your visa and pay for your flight ticket, then after getting to Dubai you go there to buy the things you want to buy. After buying you give your luggage to the agent to weight and the person pays 10.5 dirham or N250 per kilo. One does not need any permit to buy goods from Dubai”.

Why Dubai remains attractive
Most Nigerians doing business in Dubai are full of excitement. And this is for a number of reasons. Anachuna says the business environment is very conducive and that the infrastructure is reliable.

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“There is uninterrupted power supply and excellent roads. The cities are dust-free and security is also guaranteed. The crime rate is negligible, and Nigerians who have attempted to pull fast ones usually end up in Dubai prisons. Some Nigerians come here on a monthly basis, so if business is not favourable, you won’t find them here,” he says.

Mr. Augustine Ndubuisi who sells vehicle spare parts at Ladipo market, Lagos, says he travels to Dubai once he exhausts his stock. “I have been coming here for over two years now and there has been no problem. Just stay on the side of the law and you would have no problem,” he says.

Dubai has a major seaport and in 1979, it built its first free trade zone around the Jebel Ali Port and allowed foreign investors unrestricted import of labour and export capital. This helped in opening up Dubai.

Chukwu says Dubai is a place that holds a special attraction for Nigerian traders as a good source of all types of goods, including electronics, cosmetics, textiles, gold, spare parts, telecommunication gadgets and household items.
“I don’t have enough money to get my visa and ticket for China and my husband will not allow me to go too far. But Dubai is less stressful for importers – it is very easy to go and come back. I just want to tell people that all the shoes and bags in Dubai are made in China, it just depends on the quality you want”.

Okafor says, “Dubai is the economic hub of the Asian Region. Business is the main focus of Dubai economy. There are several business opportunities in Dubai and the government of the country is bent on encouraging and supporting new ones. Amongst the several business opportunities in Dubai, buying and selling is the major one the country is known for. You can shop for several items at affordable price to resell and make profit from in your own country or wherever you reside. There is no tax on either personal income or capital gains and English is widely spoken in business circles in the country”.

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Anachuna adds, “For the over nine years I have been here, I only experienced a power outage once, UAE has a strong currency. Its exchange rate of Dh3.67 to a dollar has been stable for more than 10 years”.

Okafor adds that Dubai has one of the most active and thriving wholesale markets in the Middle East, rivaling even the LA Fashion District and the New York Garment District. “While many Nigerians visit Dubai to purchase gold and jewelry, there is also a thriving wholesale market for clothing”, he says.

Snippets from the Internet also reveal that Dubai is serviced by 100 airlines and more than 170 shipping lines. It has more than 20 Free Trade Zones in which overseas companies can retain full ownership, enjoy tax exemptions and take advantage of purpose built offices or warehouses. These cover such areas as cars, healthcare, media and textiles. There are no customs duties on imports or re-exports and assistance in gaining work permits for staff. Jebel Ali in Dubai is said to be the world’s largest man-made port with 63 deepwater berths and good warehousing facilities.

Okafor says, “Anything and everything you may look for, be it handcrafted jewellery, high-tech electronic gadgets, haute couture from Paris, antiques or pure leather accessories, you’ll find it all in Dubai – at unbelievably low prices”.

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Tony says, “I buy goods from different manufacturers in different countries. I buy from China also. Some of the goods I buy from Dubai, I don’t buy in China. Some we buy in Hong Kong, some in US, while we buy some in the UK. Of course, we buy quality products from Dubai – I have not really had any issue as regards their products, unlike Chinese products. Their products are good and I am satisfied with them”.

Alvan says, “To me, there is much profit in going to China, but there are many risks – in the sense that if anything happens to the product in China, you can’t return it, but in Dubai, you can”.

Overcoming language barrier
Chukwu says, “They speak Arabic in Dubai, but they as well understand English – we negotiate with English. There is no way you’ll get to a shop and you won’t find an English speaker there; if they don’t have one, they can’t sell. It is in China you get some of their sellers or manufacturer who cannot speak English and you just have to go through the hurdle of demonstrating most times”.

Oluwakemi says, “Dubai is a multinational country; different people go there, so they speak English, because they’ve found out that most people who patronize them are people who speak English –  just that the way they speak English is different from the way we speak. You just need to take your time; it’s a multinational country so people from Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria go there to buy”.
Tony says, “There is nothing like language barrier in Dubai – they speak English language”.

Alvan says, “Most people that do business in Dubai are Indian and Chinese and they themselves speak Arabic. The sellers there can still manage to speak Pidgin English, but at times if you meet someone that does not understand English, you can still get an interpreter”.

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Salu says, “In Dubai they speak English because it is a cosmopolitan, international city and people that come there mostly speak English, though they might not be fluent but one will understand what they are saying. In some shops where the owner does not understand English there is always an interpreter who explains to the owners what the buyers want”.

How to find manufacturers
Oluwakemi says, “I said it earlier, that without an agent there is nothing you can do, but if you say you’ll go through a friend, it is okay – if he or she is someone you know from home and can trust. There are some you meet at the hotel but you just need to be careful because a lot of them are dubious, a lot of these agents are dubious. You just have to take your time, but there is nothing you can do without the agent, because they have stayed there for long and they know most of the area. If you tell them you want to buy baby things, they will find the place where baby things are sold and they make sure they get the place for you. There are some goods that you can buy within the Dubai area and some that you must go far from Dubai city to buy. So you need the agent to take you there, and without the agent there is nothing you can do”.

Salu says, “Buyers most times go to shops but sometimes manufacturers come to the hotel and tell us what they are into and may even arrange for transportation to take us to their factory which are mostly on the outskirts of Dubai. They sell directly to us, and when we buy we give them our hotel room number and they bring the products to us”.
How can one get an agent?

Oluwakemi says, “You can get an agent through other agents, like you can get an agent through traveling agencies. Most of them do hotel reservation, so all you need do is buy your ticket from them, tell them you don’t have an agent, it just that it’s going to be much expensive because they too they have their own commission that you will give to them. Getting through friends is better”.

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What to import from Dubai
Indians have a stranglehold on commerce in the city, to the extent that almost every shop you visit is run by an Indian. Their trading interests span the areas of vehicle spare parts, textiles, jewelry, electronics and electrical appliances, and household goods.

Okorie says, “You can shop for gift items, ornaments for homes, carpets and rugs, coffee pots and cups, beads, jewelries, wrist watches, clothes, shoes, toys, leather for chair making, perfumes, electronics, textiles, motor and motor cycle parts, home appliances, etc. The people of Dubai themselves don’t make much of these items; most of its supplies are met through import and other foreign companies established in Dubai for business purposes. Their feat in international business is as a result of their strategic location, and their government is taking advantage of that”.

Anachuna says that wares in Dubai markets include furniture, electronics, computers, jewellery, auto parts, lights and lighting equipment, telephones, phone accessories, textiles and others”.

While many Nigerians visit Dubai to purchase gold and jewelry, there is also a thriving wholesale market for clothing.

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Okafor says, “There are many Nigerian customers who purchase wholesale women suits, closeout designer handbags, overstock brand new shoes, and wholesale fashion dresses. In addition to exporting directly, there is wholesale merchandise to shops located in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and other Nigerian cities”.

Chukwu says, you can import anything from Dubai. “When I travel to Dubai, I buy whichever goods my money can buy and that will attract profit after sales – I buy any sellable things from Dubai. There are no goods you get from Dubai that you will not make your gain from. If there is no gain, people would have stopped going there. Bringing in goods from Dubai is cheaper, but the only thing there is how much you are going with – the more money you go with, the more gain you make”.

Oluwakemi says, “You can get so many things from Dubai, you can get standing fans, shoes, water dispensers, clothes, electronics. There are so many things that one can get from Dubai”.

Salu says, “One can import baby wears, gold, ladies tops, home accessories, electronic appliances, washing machines, shoes, even medical equipment and their medical equipment are always original and durable. It might be more expensive but they are reliable”.

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Challenges to prepare for
Chukwu says, “There are no challenges except that sometimes you may not see your goods. Maybe the agent has many boys working for him and there are mix-up in your goods and that of others, but when you have your name written on the goods, you will likely get the lost goods back. So, you have to tell your agent to be careful. Though, most of the time they are careful, but once in a while you may run into problems.

Also, there are sometimes your goods will get to the airport and all those custom officers disturb you. Sometimes, they use their knife to open the carton and spoil some goods. The customs are the major challenge we are facing, but the agents are in charge and they are to collect all the necessary papers that cover the goods and at times, settle them alongside. There is no business without its challenge, even if you go to Lagos Island. Another challenge is that, sometimes you buy a particular good and it would be difficult to sell.

This ties your money down and at the end of the day, maybe at Christmas, you see us selling it at auction price. It might be shoes bought by someone else for N10,000 and you are giving it out for less than a thousand naira – you can’t just keep it like that and be watching, you have to sell for any amount. As we have challenges with Customs at the airport, so we also have with Customs at Apapa Wharf – before you do any business, you have to go through Customs. They will have to go through and sign your papers, but like I have said, the agents are in charge of them”.

Oluwakemi says, “Everything depends on the agent, there is no how that you’re going to Dubai for the first time, if you’re not careful, you can even fall victim. When they take you out to buy some things, they add their own money and immediately the people selling the goods see the agent with you, they know he will definitely come back to collect his own cut. So you find out that what you’re buying in Lagos for 400 naira, you will be buying it at the rate of 350 at Dubai and when you add charges for shipping and over loading charges, it will be very expensive. So if you’re going for the first time, just go to a place and find out the price of the thing you want to buy, and make sure you know your way back to that same place you went to check the price from, and then you go back there after the agent must have left. You can also check some other places to know the price difference and later you compare the prices you got from the first place and the second place. It you do not do this, you will find out that what you go to Lagos Island to buy is much cheaper than what you went to Dubai to buy”.

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Tony says, “One of the challenges I have encountered occurred sometime last year: we ordered for some goods from Dubai and we wanted to supply those goods within some period of time, but we couldn’t, as the goods didn’t come in on time – there was a kind of delay in the airline arrangement. Instead of them to use Emirates airline, the agent went ahead to use another one that didn’t come to Nigeria directly – it went to another country before coming to Nigeria. However, there has not been any challenge with regulatory bodies or Customs when it comes to Dubai because they sell quality products and what I deal with are not contraband. I deal with computers.

“In Dubai, though, they sell quality products, but if you are not careful, they can mix it up with substandard ones. But one thing that sets Dubai importation ahead of others is that they will always change such substandard mixed up goods when you complain. So, when you are buying, you still need to be very careful, because even if they will change it, you still need to consider the cost of taking it back to Dubai – you will still pay”.

Alvan says, “To me, the first challenge is finance – computer importation is a capital intensive business, so you need capital to be able to meet up because there are lots of key players in the business. Another one is that you need to be educated and informed, in the sense that, you try to know more and ask questions. So, if you are into computer, you must work with time – I mean change with time. If you don’t go with time, it slows you down, as customers will come and ask for a particular product you don’t know about, this can be embarrassing. Also, there is the challenge of solving a problem. Every customer that comes to your shop comes with a problem, and you must be prepared to solve it. Even if you cannot fix it, you must have an alternative to it. There has been no challenge in the area of regulatory bodies or Customs, as their duty charges are still okay; but where we have challenges is in the air cargo charges – clearing charges. Had it been we have Nigerian airline or shipment, it would have been very easy for us. The Customs, sometimes, don’t know the value of the products we bring in. The way they handle it, some products get damaged while they are checking”.

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Salu says, “One has to be careful in terms of making friends, especially the co-travelers you meet in the hotels, because they may want to make friends with you and most of them have ulterior motives for being friendly.  If you want to go and buy your goods you have to be very careful with the agents, else they will make you get things that are exorbitant.

“For instance, during my first time of going to Dubai – this is my tenth year of buying goods from Dubai, but my first time was funny – the agent came to meet me at the hotel; because I didn’t know anywhere I had to wait for him to take me around, without knowing that all the places he took me to and all the goods I bought the shop owners had added his (the agent’s) fee to them.

“Luckily for me I met some ladies at the hotel who asked why I was waiting for my agent; that I should not wait for him, so we all left the hotel to the markets where we bought things close to the hotel that we shared among ourselves. They also took me to someplace where I got a lot of things at much cheaper rates. When the agent came back and I told him what I got from the shop he was very surprised and sad that those people had exposed him. Since then, I  have been going on my own and I would advise would be travelers not to allow agents take them to shops where they buy goods, and even when they take you there just pretend as if you are not buying anything and you buy after he might have left”.

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Start up capital
Okorie says, “Well, like any other business, you can start the business on a small scale by buying your choice items from people who travel to Dubai or elsewhere themselves. If you buy directly from them, it is cheaper for you to sell and still make good money. If you have a close friend that travels to Dubai, you could also give the person money to help you buy your goods, and you can also order online. Whether you are buying from someone who travels to Dubai or you are sending someone that is travelling to Dubai to shop for you, you can start the business with between N20,000 to N50,000.

Chukwu says, “If you have up to N200,000, you can start, but it will not be profitable for you to travel to Dubai as both flight ticket and visa can cost you N150,000. This leaves you with less than N50,000 as you will still need to spend some money for your upkeep there. The amount of goods you can buy with what you are left with may not be enough to offset the expenses and for you to make reasonable profit.

What you can do if what you have is N200,000 to start the business is to find someone who is travelling there and negotiate with them to assist you to buy the goods for you. Although you will pay something to the person going for transportation, you are rest assured that you will still be able to make good profit when the goods arrive. After you have built your capital to around N400,000, you can start travelling down yourself to buy goods.

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Oluwakemi says, “It depends on the goods you want to start importing. I import baby things and household things. If you want to start importing them, you need to go through an agent, because there is no way you can buy something from Dubai without going through any agent. You have to tell the agent earlier that there is a particular good you want to buy. So on getting there, the agent will take you to different places you can get your goods from. If the agent now takes you there, it now depends on you to buy it immediately”.

Tony says, “You can start with any amount. The most important thing about this our business is that, you must have a place to display your goods – like a shop. If you don’t have a shop and you want to go into importation of computers, you might encounter problems that you may not be able to come out from, if you don’t have money. I mean, if you begin to supply people, they might run you down, in the sense that if you supply goods of N200,000 and you go there to collect your money, your money may be in installments – so, at the end of that transaction, you might not even have your profit again. It means that, as you are collecting, you are still spending out of it”.

Salu says, “If one wants to start, one should go with 2500 dollars – excluding travel, hotel and other fares. It is advisable to start with babies wears or ladies wears which one can buy for as low as N500 or below and sell for like N1500 here; and when one starts he/she should should not be distracted with buying things for himself/herself”.

Advice for new entrants
Chukwu says, “Let them just try and get their passport through which their visa will be prepared. Once you have gotten your visa which is in paper form, you will have to take it back to the computer to have your passport; so when you go to the airport, there your passport will be stamped with a view to showing that they have given you visa and you are going out of Nigeria. Once you get to Dubai, at the airport, they have to stamp your visa again to show that you are in their country, and while coming out it will be stamped, even when you get back to Nigeria, you need to be checked. It is in Nigeria that you can boycott some processes, it doesn’t happen in other countries. You can’t go to Dubai and steal; you will be caught because there are monitors are all around, both in their markets and hotels, and you don’t stay more than the time given to you. Even when you are given two weeks visa, you need not stay up to that said time – what are you buying for two weeks; you can just stay for three days. This will save your money you’ll have paid for hotel and food.

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She continues, “My parting word is that beginners should not be scared or entertain doubts. Just believe in yourself that you will succeed whenever you travel to bring in goods. Like me, I started with buying from a woman who travels to Dubai, with just N6,000. Also, I don’t extort people; I give them normal price. So, start small and make yours cheaper than that of the market own – the market will add the rent’s fee. The Dubai importer must be wise and smart”.

Oluwakemi says, “My advise to those that want to go into the business is that they should look for a sincere person to follow, it’s not everyone you see or that goes there that you use as an agent. The first time I went there, I went there by myself and I didn’t use any person. I met a friend and we booked hotel together and the following morning we went to the market together and that was it. Just take your time, look for someone that has been going there before that you can go with, and if you’re going there, you can go with some amount of money, let’s say 400,000, because you’re paying for the flight from the money; you’re paying for hotel accommodation from the same money. So if you’re going there, make sure you have enough money. If you go there with small money, it’s not advisable. So you go there with enough money”.

Okafor says, “In Dubai, knowing where you source your products and getting the best bargains is very critical, if you hope to make reasonable profit margins back in Nigeria. This is because goods in the shops and malls you find in the city are usually very expensive more than the prices back in Nigeria. You can enter a shop and buy four shirts and four trousers at $300. But someone else can make the same purchase down town, 45 minutes drive from Dubai at a giveaway price of N700 per jeans trousers. What this means is that the $300 would have bought more than 46 pairs of trousers. $100 changes for 360 dirham, while one dirham changes for N40.00”.

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Okafor adds, “There is a rise in the ticket price during summer time. Most people tend to travel more during this period and more people go for shopping and tourism. You can also target sales period to do your shopping. You can also go to Dubai during their sales periods. Between January to February each year, there is always sales. It is popularly known as Dubai Discount Festival. Few weeks to festive periods like Christmas, Easter, and Ramadan are also periods when they declare sales. And you are sure to get your purchase at good prices. And their goods are cheaper compared to other countries. Remember, buying quality goods will help you sell your goods quickly and also make reasonable amount of profit. You buy in large quantity and sell in units here in Nigeria”.

Chukwu says, “Before going into this kind of business you should already have a target audience in mind, i.e., those you want to sell to. Whether you have a shop or not you can start this business. The only sure way of selling fast is to avoid the temptation of putting ridiculous amounts on your goods. This is to make it easy for people to afford and conveniently buy whatever interests them from your goods. Even if you don’t have shop, you can supply to those who have shops or sell to people you interact with at a reasonable price. You can also take the advantage of not trying to save money for shop rent and slash price. By so doing, you’ll sell quickly and travel back to get more stock”.

Salu says, “Like any other business, the business of buying and selling is quite a tempting one, because several times, you don’t get to be paid at once, you get money in bits and pieces, you are tempted to spend it, unknown to you that you are eating deep into your capital. Another is that in business there are stiff competitions, meaning you must always try to know what is happening in order to keep your customers, and equally get new ones. Next is, you have to master the art of price setting. In determining the price to sell your goods, remember to also calculate your flight cost and hotel accommodation expenses, so that you wouldn’t run at a loss at the end of the day”.

Chukwu adds, “As a new comer in this Dubai business, you need to go through somebody you know. For instance, many people are now going through me and I do show them the way to go and how to go through it. If you are a new comer, you don’t know anywhere yet, so someone has to take you around or you go to the person you have there – it might be your family or friend”.

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Tony says, “What I have to say is that, most times, we youths of today, we don’t want to work hard again. Nobody wants to have a long term plan; nobody wants to pass through the teething stage again – we just want to make it fast either through “Yahoo-Yahoo”.  So, when it comes to starting a business or importation, I do tell youths to start with whatever they have. When I started mine, I didn’t have anything. I just graduated from school and after my youth service; I set up my own business. Some of my friends then are still coming about seeking for non-existing jobs. It is all about persistence, perseverance and doggedness.

You don’t expect to start a business today and expect millions from it tomorrow – you have to start with a challenge, which is the normal way of doing things. You don’t expect manna to fall from Heaven; you need to work hard, and gradually you build your client-base and you get to know companies. People fail because they fail to go through the normal process. So, anybody that wants to start a business must have it at the back of his mind that he or she is going to pass through difficulties and challenges – there are no two ways about it, whether you have N100 million or N100,000 to start a business. A person with N100,000 might even do better than a person with N100 million. It depends on management. Anybody who wants to start importation business must check and research very well what he is going into. Don’t, because your friend is into a kind of business which has just fetched him a big car, decide to do such; you might be making the greatest mistake of your life”.

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Alvan says, “You can generate capital from any legal angle – go to the bank, parents, friends and so on; but what is involved is that you must be educated and informed. I will say, don’t put profit before quality, but first seek for quality. You can start with any amount from $10,000 upward for buying the goods alone. For new entrants, you can get people to take you around where the goods are sold, but you have to be very careful not to fall into the wrong hands”.

Salu says, “The person should go with someone that has been going for a long time. Also, I will advise new entrants to have a shop where they sell and not move their products from one place to another, because people will want to owe them and that will affect their business”.

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