Small business owners in Nigeria have identified problem of accessing funds as the biggest challenge hampering their growth initiatives, and by implication, their capacity to improve their contribution to the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
They also listed the problems of finding customers and infrastructure deficits among the most militating hurdles impacting their operations.
These findings were contained in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Nigeria's report titled: "PwC's MSME Survey 2020 - Building to Last". The survey is the first in a series of surveys by the research and consulting firm with the aim of providing insights into a range of issues concerning MSMEs in the country.
Presenting the results of the survey findings, Partner and Lead, Private Wealth Services of PwC Nigeria, Esiri Agbeyi, noted that 22 per cent of the respondent MSME owners identified obtaining finance as the biggest challenge facing them, while 16 per cent agreed that finding customers was a big problem and 15 per cent hinted that infrastructure deficits constituted a major constraint to their operations.
The MSME operators also identified as a key component of their financial problems, payment policies imposed by big corporates which severely affected their operations. The findings indicated that 33 per cent of MSME owners complained that their payments were delayed for more than a month.
Researchers at PwC reported that, "This negative impact on cash flows is compounded when you consider the double-digit interest rates or inflation. It does not come as a surprise then when about 50 per cent of the MSMEs surveyed did not record growths above 20 per cent over the last three years."
According to the consulting firm, the objective of the survey is to capture the challenges the MSME sector faces, identify opportunities to unlock growth and investment, provide solutions, mitigate risks and assess the outlook for MSMEs across industries.
The findings covered the Nigerian business environment and market conditions, tax issues, access to finance, growth obstacles, payment policies, role of technology and impact of women on the MSME sector in Nigeria.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) latest data indicate that the nation's MSMEs, totalling about 17.4 million enterprises, had contributed an average of 48 per cent to the GDP in the last five years. They also account for about 50 per cent of industrial jobs and nearly 90 per cent of activities in the real sector.