1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in the development of national economy. Due to their importance and the crucial role they play in economic development and growth of the nation, much attention has been placed on financing of small and medium enterprises, since they are major contributors to the economy of Nigeria. These enterprises are drivers of the economy; therefore policy attention has to be given to them especially in developing economies because of their impact on many sectors of the economy. Their impact is felt in the following ways: Greater utilization of local raw materials, employment generation, encouragement of rural development, development of entrepreneurship, mobilization of local savings, linkages with bigger industries, provision of regional balance by spreading investments more evenly, provision of avenue for self employment and provision of opportunity for training managers and semi skilled workers.
In Nigeria, credit has been recognized as an essential tool for promoting small and Micro Enterprises (SMEs), hence the need for recapitalization of commercial banks in Nigeria. Bank recapitalization which was effective from 2006 is aimed at making Nigerian banks stronger and better in-order to finance all sectors of the economy including the major drivers of the economy-Small and Medium Scale Enterprises. About 70 percent of the population is engaged in the informal sector or in agricultural production. The Federal and State governments have recognized that for sustainable growth and development, the financial empowerment of the people is vital. If this growth strategy is adopted and the latent entrepreneurial capabilities of this large segment of the people is sufficiently stimulated and sustained, then positive multipliers will be felt throughout the economy. To give effect to these aspirations various policies have been instituted over time by the Federal Government to improve rural and urban enterprise production capabilities (Olaitan 2006)
The central Bank of Nigeria on July 6th 2004, announced therecapitalization of banking sector from N2 billion to N25 billion with effectfrom 1st January 2006. This was with a view to make the sector internationally competitive, sound and improves its ability to provide credit to all the productive sectors of the economy. In order to meet this obligation, banks embarked on strategies of merger and acquisition, floating of new shares and so on. At the end of the exercise, 25 new banks emerged.
It was hoped that the consolidation will make the banks stronger to be able to provide large amount of funds to productive sectors of the economy which is largely dominated by Small and Medium Enterprises, thereby making them grow into large firms with enough resources to contribute to the economic development.
Also, in December 2005, the CBN introduced new Micro-finance Policy (MFP) which was designed to be public and private sector driven.
The purpose of the policy was to strengthen community banks in order for them to be able to grant collateral and non collateral loans to finance microeconomic activities in the economy. The policy also aims at providing many people with access to financial services who otherwise will have no access to these services.
Small and Medium Enterprises as said earlier have a crucial role to play in the development of an economy, they are training grounds for local entrepreneurs, they encourage local savings and ensure equitable distribution of wealth thereby reducing rural- urban migration of human resources.
To this end, government should collaborate with private sector inorder to create an enabling and conducive environment for SME’S in order to contribute positively towards the development of the economy.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Bank fraud, poor lending and credit management practices in the Nigerian banking sector forced the Central bank of Nigeria to revisit the capital structure of commercial banks in Nigeria. These among other things led the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to give a directive that all banks should recapitalize from N2 billion to N25 billion with effect from 1stJanuary 2006.
This development led to various financial activities in the Nigerian financial sector with most banks initially opting for additional source of fund from the capital market via floating of shares. Most banks at this stage started inviting members of the public to acquire new shares in-order to meet up with the new minimum capital directed by the central bank of Nigeria. Notwithstanding, some banks were not capable of raising the new minimum capital by themselves, hence the need for mergers and consolidation of banks, reducing the total number of banks in Nigeria to twenty five (25).
However, the consolidation of the banking sector presented new challenges to the banks which require more efforts to control cost and increase their efficiency; this in turn has effect the volume of credit facilities granted to small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria. A study conducted by Iloh et al (2012) reveals the gap between deposit money bank deposits (DMBD) and commercial bank lending to SMEs from year 2000 upward (the year that saw the end of merchant banks). There is a wide margin between the two variables and while deposit money bank deposits rose very high, commercial bank lending to SMEs declined from 2004 to 2010. The gap between commercial bank deposits and its lending to SMEs reveals the shift in focus from lending to SMEs to lending to major investors (customers). One is made to ask, while the banking sector is said to drive any economy, has Nigerian commercial banks neglected SMEs, which is vital for the growth and development of the Nigerian economy? Notwithstanding, it is interesting to note that community/Microfinance bank (CMFB) lending to SMEs moved in the same trend with its bank deposit. This implies that as community/microfinance bank deposits increased, it’s lending to SMEs increased. Regardless of the direct impact of community/microfinance bank on SMEs, SMEs still cry for lack of funding and lending to SMEs in Nigeria is still poor. This is so because their capital, reserve and deposit are very small and insufficient to meet the needs of small and medium entrepreneurs.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF STUDY
The primary objective of the study is to examine the effects of bank recapitalization on small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria. Specific objectives of the study are:
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
In-order to achieve the above stated objectives, the researcher formulated the following research questions:
1.5 HYPOTHESIS OF THE STUDY
The following hypotheses are formulated in line with the objectives and research questions of the study:
Hi: There is a significant relationship between Commercial banks and the performance of Small Business Owners in Nigeria.
Hi: Bank recapitalization has led to the increase of Funds to SMEs
Hi: Small and Medium Enterprise Equity Investment Scheme funds are easily assessable to SMEs
1.6 SIGINIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
Robust economic growth cannot be achieved without putting in place well focused programmes to reduce poverty through empowering the people by increasing their access to factors of production, especially credit. The latent capacity of the poor entrepreneurs would be significantly enhanced through the provision of microfinance services to enable them engage in economic activities and be more self-reliant; increase employment opportunities, enhance household income, and create wealth.
However, the lack of required financial support from the microfinance banks to Micro Business operators in Lagos state has become a major concern in Nigeria. Hence, this study shall be relevant to policy makers in the areas of finding out the impact of micro financing on the small scale investors. Also, this study shall enhance further research in the subject area.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this research work is the recapitalized commercial banks and their SME customers in Nigeria. However, due to the fact that there are many commercial banks with many SME customers, the research is limited to Mainstreet Bank, Osun branch and some of their SME customers.
1.8 LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Time and financial constraints were the major limitations of the study. Since the researcher could not afford the cost of reaching out to more banks, money became a challenge. The researcher was also engaged in other school activities which also limited the time used for the project.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
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