Total loans granted by banks to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Nigeria amounted to just over 0.1 percent of total banks’ credits to the private sector over the past five years. This is according to a report by The Vanguard.
Figures obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) showed that out of the aggregate loans of N135.9 trillion disbursed to the economy between 2011 and 2015, only N159.75 billion went to the SMEs. Specifically, CBN Statistical Bulletin 2015 revealed that loans to SMEs for 2012 to 2015 represented 0.1 percent but a trend of consistent decline had been recorded since 2003.
Specifically, 2004 was 3.6 percent; 2005 2.5 percent; 2006, 1.0 percent; 2007, 0.9; 2008, 0.2 percent; 2009, 0.2 per cent; 2010, 0.1 percent and; 2011 0.2 percent. The figures indicated a drastic decline in credit to the SME sub-sector after the banking consolidation exercise in 2006.
It is evident that SMEs had robust access to finance from banks during the period of mandatory credit allocation, pre-consolidation. The percentage of loans to SMEs dropped drastically during liberalisation period and reduced further post-consolidation period despite increase in loans to the economy.