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1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Small and Medium Scale Enterprises are sub-sectors of the industrial sector which play crucial roles in industrial development (Ahmed, 2006). Following the adoption of Economic reform
programme in Nigeria in 1981, there have been several decisions to switch from capital intensive and large scale industrial projects which was based on the philosophy of import development to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises which have better prospects for developing domestic economy, thereby generating the required goods and services that will propel the economy of Nigeria towards development. It is base on this premise that Ojo (2009), argued that one of the responses to the challenges of development in developing countries particularly, in Nigeria, is the encouragement of entrepreneurial development scheme. Despite the abundant natural resources, the country still finds it very difficult to discover her developmental bearing since independence. Quality and adequate infrastructural provision has remained a night-mare, the real sector among others have witnessed downward performance while unemployment rate is on the increase. Most of the poor and unemployed Nigerians in order to better their lots have resorted to the establishment of their own businesses. Consequently, Entrepreneurship is fast becoming a household name in Nigeria. This is as a result of the fact that the so called white collar jobs that people clamour for are no longer there. Even, the touted sectors (Banks and companies) known to be the largest employer of labour are on the down-turn following the consolidation crisis and fraudulent practices of the high and mighty in the banking sector. The companies of course are folding up as a result of erratic power supply, insecurity and persistent increase in interest rate which has lead to high cost of production and undermines profit making potentials of companies operating in Nigeria (Hassan, 2003).
Since the office jobs that people desire are no longer there for the teeming population, and the few ones that succeeded in getting the jobs are thrown out as a result of the factors identified above, the need for the government and the people to have a rethink on the way-out of this mess became imperative. Hence, the need for Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) became a reality as a means of ensuring self independent, employment creation, import substitution, effective and efficient utilization of local raw materials and contribution to the economic development of our dear nation (Nigeria). All the aforestated benefits of Small and Medium
Scale Enterprises cannot be achieved without the direct intervention of the government and financial institutions. Over the years a number of policies have been formulated by the government with a view to developing Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. The Nigerian government under the then leadership of Chief Olusegun Obasajo promulgated micro-finance policy and other regulatory and supervisory frame work in 2005. However, the researcher is examining the impact of microfinance on the development of Small and medium Scale enterprises in Nigeria.
Microfinance, according to Otero (1999, p.8) is “the provision of financial services to low-income poor and very poor self-employed people”. These financial services according to Ledgerwood (1999) generally include savings and credit but can also include other financial services such as insurance and payment services. Schreiner and Colombet (2001, p.339) define microfinance as “the attempt to improve access to small deposits and small loans for poor households neglected by banks.” Therefore, microfinance involves the provision of financial services such as savings, loans and insurance to poor people living in both urban and rural settings who are unable to obtain such services from the formal financial sector.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Access to finance remains a dominant constraint to small scale enterprises in Nigeria. There have been credit constraints pertaining to working capital and raw materials. Aryeetey et al. (1994) reported that 68% of SMEs surveyed mentioned credit as a major constraint of financing their businesses. This stems from the fact that SMEs have limited access to capital markets, in part because the high cost of borrowing, and rigidities of interest rates has also made financing of small scale enterprises very difficult in Nigeria. Most SMEs also lack the necessary collateral to obtain loans from financial institutions, therefore resulting in SMEs not often obtaining long-term finance to finance and expand their businesses.
Besides other constraints on finance, most owners and managers of small scale enterprises in Nigeria are faced with lack of technical knowhow, skilled labour, managerial competence in handling business enterprises and also lack of business ideas. As a result their growth prospect remains stagnant. There is also the problem of having access to modern technology since most firms use old machinery, and have problems with finding replacements parts to purchase.
Microfinance institutions in Nigeria have proven to be a powerful tool for promoting inclusive economic growth especially in the area of Small Scale Enterprise development and employment as well. Initiatives are aimed at providing soft loans to individuals and small scale enterprises, even though a microfinance institution in Nigeria is actually in the stage of infancy, the sector has proven itself to show positive in its growth in Nigeria. This institution also aims at helping SMEs to expand their business up to a point of becoming viable ones. But the issue is to ascertain if the microfinance’s having any impact of the development of SMEs in Nigeria and to answer the question which is to be addressed which is Impact Assessment. This assessment is used to determine the extent to which microfinance institutions are attaining their objectives towards the development of Small Scale Enterprises in Nigeria.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To examine the impact of microfinance on the development of Small and medium Scale enterprises in Nigeria.
2. To determine the effectiveness of microfinance in Nigeria.
3. To identify the factors limiting the development of microfinance in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the impact of microfinance on the development of Small and medium Scale enterprises in Nigeria?
2. What is the effectiveness of microfinance in Nigeria?
3. What are the factors limiting the development of microfinance in Nigeria?
HO: Microfinance has not impacted on the development of Small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria.
HA: Microfinance has impacted on the development of Small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following are the significance of this study:
1. Findings from this study will reveal the gap in financing small and medium scale business in Nigeria with of view of sensitizing the government on the need for adequate finance to enhance growth and development.
2. Results from this study will educate the general public on the impact of microfinance on the development of small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria
3. This research will be a contribution to the body of literature in the area of the effect of personality trait on student’s academic performance, thereby constituting the empirical literature for future research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will cover the operations of microfinance banks in Nigeria with a view of identifying their contribution towards the development of small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
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