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COMMERCIAL BANK LENDING TO SMALL AND MEDIUM SCALE ENTERPRISE (A CASE STUDY OF UNION BANK OF NIGERIA PLC, ENUGU)
So much had been said and written about commercial bank lending to small and medium scale enterprises. One still wonders why the small and medium scale enterprises are ever faced with the age-old syndrome of inadequate funds. The presence of the small and medium scale industries are not found in large numbers in very city, towns and villages as one would have thought, at least judging by the preponderance of attention it had been enjoying for long time now. Yet the problem is regarded as an ever-flagged issue even with out any real practical solution in sight.
Background to the Study
For both developing and developed countries, small and medium scale firms play important roles in the process of industrialization and economic growth. Apart from increasing per capita income and output, SMEs create employment opportunities, enhance regional economic balance through industrial dispersal and generally promote effective resources utilization considered critical to engineering economic and growth.
However, the seminal role played by SMEs not with standing its development is everywhere constrained by inadequate funding and poor management. The unfavourable macro economic environment has also been identified as one of the major constraints which most times encourage financial institutions which most times encourage financial institutions to be risk-averse in funding small and medium scale businesses.
The manufacturing sector (Including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) is acknowledged to have huge potential for employment generation and wealth creation in any economy, yet in Nigeria, the sector has stagnated and remains relatively small in terms of its contribution to GDP or to gainful employment. Activity mix in the sector is also quite limited dominated by import dependent processes and factors. Although there is no reliable data, imprecise indicators show that capacity utilization in the sector has improved perceptibly in the period since 1999, but the sector is still faced with a number of constraints
with lack of credit availability as the principal constraint. Credit is the largest element of risk in the books of most banks and failures in the management of credit risk, by weakening individual banks and in some cases, the banking system as a whole, have contributed to many episodes of financial instability. A greater understanding of the nature of credit risk, leading to improved measurement and international financial system vis-a-vis the small and medium enterprises in the long run.
Generally, the stage of development and, thus the efficiency of the system varies among countries and changes over time in the same country. The more developed and sophisticated financial systems tend to be associated with the nature economies, while underdeveloped financial systems feature in developing economies. As a process, the financial system adjusts to changes in the real economy just as the economy responds to developments in the financial sector. All over the world, size had become an important ingredient for success, the banking sector included.
In Nigeria every known regime recognizes the importance of promoting SMEs as the basis of economic growth. As a result, several micro-lending institutions were established to enhance the development of SMEs. Such micro credit institutions include the Nigerian Bank for Commerce and Industry (NBCI), National Economic Reconstruction Fund (Nerfund), the people’s Bank of Nigeria (PBN), the community Banks (CB) and the Nigerian Export and Import Bank (NEXIM), and the Liberalization of the banking Sector.