Business Administration Research project Topic Chapter 1-5 titled – The Contribution of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (Msmes) To Economic Growth and Sustainable Development,
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Since Nigeria attained independence in 1960, considerable efforts have been directed towards industrial development. The initial efforts were government-led through the vehicle of large industry, but lately, emphasis has shifted to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) following the lessons learnt from the success of SMEs in the economic growth of Asian countries (Ojo, 2003). Thus, the recent industrial development drive in Nigeria has focused on sustainable development through small business development. Prior to this time, particularly judging from the objectives of the past National Development Plans, and emphasis had been on government-led industrialization, hinged on import-substitution strategy.
Since 1986, government had reduced its role as the major driving force of the economy through the process of economic liberalization entrenched in the IMF pill of Structural Adjustment Programme. Emphasis, therefore, has shifted from large-scale industries to small and medium-scale industries, which have the potentials for developing domestic linkages for rapid and sustainable industrial development. Attention was focused on the organized private sector to spearhead subsequent industrialization programmes. The incentives given to encourage increased participation in these sectors were directed at solving and/or alleviating the problems encountered by industrialists in the country, thereby giving them opportunity to increase their contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The contribution of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to economic growth and sustainable development is globally acknowledged (CBN, 2004). There is an increasing recognition of its pivotal role in employment generation, income redistribution and wealth creation (NISER, 2004). The micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) represent about 87percent of all firms operating in Nigeria (USAID, 2005). Non-farm micro, small and medium enterprises account for over 25 per cent of total employment and 20percent of the GDP (SMEDAN, 2007) compared to the cases of countries like Indonesia, Thailand and India where Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contribute almost 40percent of the GDP (IFC, 2002).
Whilst MSMEs are an important part of the business landscape in any country, they are faced with significant challenges that inhibit their ability to function and contribute optimally to the economic development of many African countries. The position in Nigeria is not different from this generalized position (NIPC, 2009). Realizing the importance of small businesses as the engine of growth in the Nigerian economy, the government took some steps towards addressing the conditions that hinder their growth and survival. However, as argued by Ojo (2003), all these SME assistance programmes have failed to promote the development of SMEs. This was echoed by Yumkella (2006) who observes that all these programmes could not achieve their expected goals due largely to abuses, poor project evaluation and monitoring as well as moral hazards involved in using public funds for the purpose of promoting private sector enterprises. Thus, when compared with other developing countries, Variyam and Kraybill (2007) observed that many programmes for assisting small businesses implemented in many Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries through cooperative services, mutual aid groups, business planning, product and market development, and the adoption of technology, failed to realize sustained growth and development in these small enterprises. Among the reasons given were that the small-sized enterprises are quite vulnerable to economic failure arising from problems related to business and managerial skills, access to finance and macroeconomic policy.
Despite MSME‘s important contributions to economic growth, small enterprises are plagued by many problems including stagnation and failure in most sub-Saharan African countries (Bekele, 2008). In Nigeria, the problem is not limited to lack of long-term financing and inadequate management skills and entrepreneurial capacity alone, but also, includes the combined effect of low market access, poor information flow, discriminatory legislation, poor access to land, weak linkage among different segments of the operations in the sector, weak operating capacities in terms of skills, knowledge and attitudes, as well as lack of infrastructure and an unfavourable economic climate.
Despite all these efforts, the contribution of SMEs in the industrial sector to the Nation‘s GDP was estimated to be 37% compared to other countries like India, Japan and Sri Lanka and Thailand where SMEs contributed 40%, 52% 55% and 47.5% respectively to the GDP in 2003, (UNCTAD,2003), hence the need for alternative funding window. In 2005, the Federal Government of Nigeria adopted microfinance as the main financing window for micro, small and medium enterprises in Nigeria. The Microfinance Policy Regulatory and Supervisory Framework (MPRSF) was launched in 2005. The policy, among other things, addresses the problem of lack of access to credit by small business operators who do not have access to regular bank credits. It is also meant to strengthen the weak capacity of such entrepreneurs, and raise the capital base of microfinance institutions. The objective of the microfinance policy is to make financial services accessible to a large segment of the potentially productive Nigerian population, which have had little or no access to financial services and empower them to contribute to economic development of the country.
The microfinance arrangement makes it possible for MSEs to secure credit from Microfinance Banks (MFBs) and other Microfinance Institutions (MFIs) on more liberal terms. It is on this platform that we intend to examine the impact of microfinance on small business growth, survival, as well as business performance of MSEs operators.