BACKGROUND OF 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 Business Organization 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, 1962-68, 1970-75, 1976-80 and 1981-85, 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 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 small business enterprises 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 87 per cent 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 20 percent 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 40 percent of the GDP (IFC, 2002).
The unemployment situation in the country coupled with the new government instinctive towards easing social tensions among unemployed youths, through the programmed of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), were intended to lure a lot of unemployed Nigerians, including graduates into self determination through self employment. Graduates and school leavers are now realizing that government and the established private companies are not ready to come to their aid directly, through paid employment due to the dividing state of the economy. Short of the alternatives, Nigerians including our graduates are therefore launching themselves into various small-scale business ventures, such as cottage soap and cosmetics production, fairing, restaurants, fast food, publishing, writing, block making, garri processing, food processing, refuse disposal, taxi driving, cleaning services, weaving, baking tailoring, advertising and other same business venture which depends mostly on local raw materials. The determination to succeed is also fast becoming the order of the day.
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 (2003) 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 (1994) 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 small businesses’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 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, and most significantly, inadequate managerial skills. To this regards, the role of managers on small business enterprise cannot be overemphasised, as it provide the management functions of the organization as the case may be.
More so, the management by the classification of management occupies administration position (top level) managing director or general manager, the operative position (the workers) these groups are all involved in the accomplishment of the organizations example complementing a batch order, meeting a sales quota, assembling financial data etc, are the duties of production, supervisors, sales supervisors. Finance officer and a certain technical staff, when an operative manager performs the work of management, administrative and management of the activities are known as and operative management.
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