Taiwo Shittu, chief executive of Lanre Shittu Motors, said that at a time when many auto companies were downsizing and closing stores due to slow activity, Lanre Shittu Motors (LSM) Limited hired more workers last year to service its expanding operations.

Shittu revealed this in Lagos at a media event.

He said the company also raised worker wages to encourage its hard-working staff to do more.

He spoke while evaluating the performance of the automotive industry in Nigeria in 2022 and said that many players went through a turbulent time due to poor planning.

“For us, we don’t fire our workers. We even had to employ more people and increase salary by 20 to 40 percent based on performance and productivity. However, one or two people were asked to leave due to their attitude towards work and poor performance.

“What LSM did differently was properly plan and prepare for the rainy day and build an international reputation for credit,” he said.

Shittu also said: “The other strategy is to stick with a good bank. Many banks will look in your direction when they know that you are a good, stable and reliable customer.

The executive director criticized the practice of many companies that prefer to distribute their funds among banks.

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According to him, “You may be doing big business, earning a lot of profit, but when you need their support (when resources are limited) and your case is brought before the bank executives, then your transaction history may seem small because it has spread . their resources between many banks and that is a mistake that many companies make.

“However, when around 70-90 percent of your funds are handled by a particular bank, that bank will be willing to support you when the need arises because they see the volume of your business and can tell if you are loyal and would . put you first, especially when resources are limited.”

He also said that another area in which LSM had excelled was its contribution to the local technical workforce.

“In recent years, the company has empowered many young people who wander, to give them a new life, especially after passing out in primary and secondary school, many people want to continue their studies but have no money,” he said.

He further said, “Young people who finish school are encouraged to come and learn the skill of repairing and assembling automobiles. Some come from Abuja, Delta and Kaduna states, including other places, after which they are trained for a period of four years and are paid even during the training.

“We pay women more to encourage more of them to stay, and the salary increases every year for each apprentice.

“After training, these young people are sent to our customers across the country to drive their vehicles. In such places, they are being employed, well-off, and well-paid. In some cases they are given a car and placed with good wages and we are getting good testimonials from those we send.

“These are people who would have been bus drivers, dealers or motorists, now running a facility of about 300 to 500 trucks. The owners of these trucks know how valuable they are, each costing up to N50 million. They wouldn’t mind paying 200,000 naira or more to the employees for the maintenance of the trucks.”

He also said that Lanre Shittu Motors has a graduate empowerment scheme, with a different package. “They are also trained for a period before we send them out to people who need their services,” he said.