After braving the odds to establish in Nigeria 15 years ago, Michael Tawadrous, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of VAVA Furniture in this interview spoke about what government can do to enable the sector to contribute more to the economy. What inspired you to join the furniture business in Nigeria? During my childhood, I had passion for colours; mixing them and even in my bedroom I kept changing the design, and growing up, for me it is not a job, it’s a passion that I enjoy doing, and sometimes it generates revenue. Why would choose to remain in the business? When you look at the figures, and what are the contributions of the furniture industry to the Nigerian economy, you will see that the contribution in figures is very high and the industry here in Nigeria is huge and there is market all over. VAVA is the name of a city that specialises in producing high quality furniture. But that is not the only reason why I named my company VAVA. It is not only in Victoria Island and Ikeja but in Ibadan and in different parts of Nigeria with different tastes. For example, those in Kano and Abuja like more of the classic items, those ones that have more of carved wood. For us to be able to satisfy all our customers nationwide with different tastes, we have to have something for everybody and that is something special and unique about VAVA. We have those sofas that his royal majesty can put in his palace and we have those smaller sectional sofas that single guys and girls can have in their smaller apartments. How would you describe the business climate? Like I always say, it has advantages and disadvantages. The business environment is very tough. It is very harsh but at the same time, if you can manage it you will succeed anywhere. The experience you will gain here you will never gain in other countries. When we speak about the business environment in Nigeria, let me leave it for now because you will ask me of the challenges later. What has changed in comparing imports and the capacity of local players? The exchange rate; the fluctuation in exchange rate has favoured us. Those that used to import finished products from abroad and bring them here and adding no value to the industry are now looking up to us, asking how can they do it. We have taken it a bit early by saying let us produce the things we see abroad.