Oct 30, 2009, 11:33 AM
Sanusi Touray is a young man with varied ideas of development in society. He is particularly prepared to give to the society in difficult situation but has seen the value of self development and that of others. He is educated in Arabic, which he studied in Sierra Leone and abroad where he started learning English from the university. He is a teacher by profession teaching at Jollof Tutors. He is fluent in both languages and has a very high integrity and experience.
Sanusi, who hails from Gidda in the Upper River Region to Serahule parents, started off with different things in business in 2004, selling ice blocks and running a video club. He is now engaged in water production and the assembling and selling of Tricycles but acknowledges that business is not easy. Society and Development finds out about this young enterprising man.
S&D: Would you tell me about yourself please?
Sanusi Touray: I hailed from Gidda in the Upper River Region. I am a Serahule and I went to an Arabic School in Koidu, Sierra Leone from where I proceeded to study in Malaysian University. I started learning English from there. And I can speak Arabic better than English. I have a family.
S&D: How did you start your business?
Sanusi Touray: I started with different things since 2004. I sold Ice Block and I operated a video club. I then realized that I needed to go into other things to make ends meet.
S&D: What is your trade?
Sanusi Touray: I am a teacher by profession and an employee of Jollof Tutors. But I am very interested in business. I am keen on development thus getting into different things. Business is not an easy thing but I had to come and be part of it.
S&D: What are you exactly doing as business now?
Sanusi Touray: One of the things I am doing now is water production and sales. My production is called "Dolleh Water." I am also involved in the assembling of motor tricycles that is very handy and useable. I believe water brings life and anything we do, we use water and water brings vitality, which means power.
S&D: Who loves your brand the most?
Sanusi Touray: The Fulas love the brand because it's the same in their language as well as the Wollofs, they can easily identify the name. We have fair share of the market both in Banjul, Serrekunda and Basse though things have not moved much in Basse. However, I intend to go back. But there is problem with management; cost of repairs and materials are quite expensive.
S&D: What is the way out of these problems?
Sanusi Touray: One of the ways to ease things is by improving on transportation that is why I decided to go into Tricycle business. These are cheap, use less fuel, low maintenance, flexible for areas where big vehicles cannot tread. It is only part of our diversification process, so that we can keep the business running. I partner with my cousin's son, Mr. Mohamed Touray who goes to China, so we manage to partner with him to bring these Tricycles so that we can sell them in The Gambia. They transport people and goods for selling and general purpose. They carry half a ton of goods in total. With ten litres you can carry your goods the whole day. I find them very useful for municipal use. They can be a good replacement for trucks.
S&D: What else could they be used for?
Sanusi Touray: They are very useful for municipal purposes. They can be a good replacement for trucks. They could be used for garbage collection; people can use them for moving finished products, "set settal" activities. It can also be useful for youth by using it to collect garbage and dump them properly each day. If you are a farmer in Basse or else where, instead of donkey carts, you could use the tricycle and work efficiently. Villagers can use it between short distances like Farafenni crossing and Banjul to Serrakunda. It carries eight passengers conveniently; street and food vendors can also use it. One of the salient features of it is, they are like cars. They have no chains and it provides shade for the head. The tyres can last because they are big and durable. The parts are affordable and the manufacturers are willing to send spare parts as long as the market is there. We can provide you with any. We can supply you. They are affordable.
S&D: Are these expensive tricycles?
Sanusi Touray: They are affordable. They go for like D50, 000. The prize is more competitive than their Indian counterparts, which carry three passengers only and are sold for D80, 000 with a difference of D30, 000. We would be willing to do business with those that want to start. They can do part payment be it institution or individuals, starting with 50% down payment and the rest be paid on installment basis.
S&D: Are there any good moments since you started?
Sanusi Touray: No sir! There has been no good moments since the inception of the business in 2007.
Sanusi Touray: I made management errors. I did not understand how it should work. I employed about sixteen people. I later realised my mistake and cut about 75% off to be more effective. I hope from what I have learnt, I would be able to recover this in 2010. As the saying goes 'experience is the best teacher.'
S&D: Are you a Businessman?
Sanusi Touray: I am not a business student, I am just a teacher and even my background as a Serahule can tell you. I like to research on machines. I told myself, I should be the teacher and add business to it. Teaching is to raise my social status. I live in a polygamous family. I have to fulfil my social obligations. I would like to have more of these kinds of ventures.
S&D: Which other ventures would you love to have?
Sanusi Touray: I would love to have more liquid machines that will help society. This will include peanut butter machine, corn flakes making, ice block and plant machines. If all these have their raw materials in The Gambia, it will help reduce the rural/urban migration. If I should achieve all these, I would love to retire in Basse. I would love to have an oil press machine because it is an ideal place for that since the place is hot anything cold will go. Electricity is stable and the road network is improving. It's just to improve on what I am doing when I am there. People tend to fear doing business in rural Gambia because it's hot but I can survive there and it is the second capital and business, is dominated by non-Gambians. Its high time we set up enterprises, there are few good restaurants there. My idea is to carry all I am doing here to Basse.
S&D: Let us talk a bit about the water business again, are there problems?
Sanusi Touray: Yes! Our business has no association. Others have but not ours, that is the water business. We are selling thirty in a sachet for D20, which is not right and the shopkeepers sell it for D2 per pack. We the producers go at a loss because we have not come together. The water packagers are not making money; it is the shopkeepers only that gain. That is why I have different businesses. I have employed Gambians, drivers and other skilled workers. I need to make gain too. It makes no sense if the market competition keeps it at 20 Dalasis. We only try to sell more so that we go home with something. We find it tough and we need to stay on to improve on our services.
S&D: Why water?
Sanusi Touray: Drinkable water is a future business. Living and no living things need water. So we go for water. PURA should come in and help us because it can't be good on one side and different on the other. I am appealing to PURA to help us since we have employed Gambians and we have invested a lot in the water business, they should help us.
S&D: Any advice?
Sanusi Touray: When you work hard, good things will surely follow; God can help you. You must strive positively and make use of the God-given gifts we have. We are not poor, poverty is what we make out of ourselves, strong men should be concerned with time, and time is money! Some uneducated people have what we the educated people do not have. We need to help our selves.
S&D: Any last words?
Sanusi Touray: My father's people (Serahules) have a lot because they believe in themselves. I have traveled to the Middle East, Asia and Europe but stability and peace here cannot be compared. Yes we can realise our dreams in the Gambia. We should not stop thinking positive. If we beg, we shall dance to the tune of our masters. Let us work hard and forget about back way. For us to succeed in The Gambia, we need to work hard and enjoy the stability we have. I could be reached for any questions on tel: 6923666
S&D: Thanks for being patient with me. I wasted a lot of your time.
Sanusi Touray: You have still done well, better late than never. God bless you.