Nigeria as a developing economy cannot achieve full development without the contribution of the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). In most developed economies, the main stay of their economy has been attributed to the effectiveness of the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs). Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) is accepted globally as a tool for empowering the citizenry and economic growth. It has been associated with the rapid economic growth of countries in Asia and North America. In Nigeria efforts have been made by successive governments to reduce poverty and accelerate economic growth by increasing foreign direct investment, diversifying the economy, enacting policy frameworks which favor small business ownership and sometimes initiating employment and entrepreneurship programs. Nigeria as a developing economy needs the contribution of the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) to be able to become one of the twenty most industrialized economies by the year 2020. Therefore, the problem is to critically examine the role of the small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.
The role of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in facilitating the economic development of any country cannot be underestimated. In Nigeria, for example, SMEs provide an average of 50 per cent of jobs and same proportion of industrial output.
Experts say that the SME sector, can thrive in Nigeria, if the government can address the challenges of poor infrastructure, lack of financing, multiple taxation and inconsistent government policy.
The Africa Economic Analysis reported that, “The proportion of Nigerian SMEs and their impact on the economy is pretty much, similar to those in other countries of the world, especially in the advanced economies. There are approximately 23 million small businesses in the United States.