Bank loans not main funding option for Nigerian MSMEs -PwC

New findings contained in the PwC’s MSME Survey 2020 has revealed that Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises do not rely on banks to meet the majority of their funding needs. Instead, they rely on their savings as well as friends and family.

Understanding the situation

For now, access to credit facilities remains one of the biggest challenges facing MSMEs in the country. Information contained in chapter 4 of the 84-paged report revealed that many of the small businesses that participated in the PwC survey resorted to starting their ventures with less than N50,000 initial startup capital.

The report further revealed that only a paltry 4.7% of Nigerian MSMEs start their businesses with more than N300,000 in initial capital costs. As much as 75% of small and medium businesses in the country start their ventures with less than N10 million. However, 6% of MSMEs start with more than N40 million.

Why bank loans are hard to get 

“SMEs usually do not have access to bank loans unlike firms; they mostly rely on their own savings or cash from friends and family. According to The International Finance Corporation (IFC), 40% of formal MSMEs in developing countries, experience a finance shortage of USD5.2 trillion every year. Lending is usually dependent on the stance of the borrower’s financial position, and analysed historical data about the business,” part of the report said.

For the MSMEs interviewed during the survey PwC, bank loans are impossible to get mainly because of their high cost. About half of the respondents (50%) admitted that they did apply for bank loans over the last 12 months, but never ended up taking them due to their high costs. The report also noted that high cost of capital is one of the major costs to business operations in the country.Meanwhile, 31% of MSMEs said they applied for bank loans but their applications were rejected. About 10% of the respondents said they applied for bank loans and only got half of what they applied for. Only 10% of the respondents said they were able to access all the loans they applied for.

Commercial banks was the main source bank loans for MSMEs (91.9%) while microfinance banks accounted for only 4.7% of the bank loans to MSMEs. Meanwhile, development banks such as the Bank of Industry (BoI), accounted for only 1% of bank loans to small and medium enterprises, the PwC report said.

“29% of businesses see the high-interest rates on loan as the most important limiting factor to getting funding for
working capital and expansionary activities. 25 percent cite insufficient collateral or guarantees for funding, while 22% point to the current economic conditions as the most important limiting factor,” -PwC MSME Survey 2020

Recall that in 2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had increased the Loan to Deposit Ratio (LDR) of deposit money banks in the country to 65%. This was in a bid to ensure the adequate provision of funding to the real sector of the economy. Although this directive has yielded a considerable result, the PwC report noted that banks may refuse to lend to the real and accept the punishment that may come with such refusal. This is because of perceived risks in the real sector, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some suggestions for the way forward

In order to improve the chances of MSMEs at securing bank loans, the PwC report suggested the following steps should be followed;

  • Proper documentation: Most funding institutions request the cashflow history of businesses being considered for funding. SMEs seeking funding should produce audited financial statements that reveal credible financial information.
  • Use of technology for documentation:  Companies may use tools such as excel sheets, Power BI, cash flow budget worksheet, and other technologies to make cash flow projections easier and faster, this provides readily available documentation at any given opportunity.
  • Financial statements and projections for the business: Financial statements are major requirements when looking to secure a loan, this makes it paramount for firms to keep proper and standard documentation of their transactions.
  • Collateral to secure a bank loan: It is important to have a secure, valuable ( as valuable as loan requested) property for use as collateral, with the value of the property remaining valid through the loan period.

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