Microfinance and Small Business Development Research Group

Microfinance and Small Business Development Research Group

1.0       Group Members

  • J.U.J Onwumere (Department of Banking and Finance, UNEC)
  • Okoro Okoro E.U (Department of Banking and Finance, UNEC)
  • (Mrs) Obiamaka Egbo (Department of Banking and Finance, UNEC)
  • (Mrs) Ifeoma Nwakoby (Department of Banking and Finance, UNEC)
  • Imo G. Ibe (Department of Banking and Finance, UNEC/Renaissance University)
  • O.C Eneh (Institute for Development Studies, UNEC)
  • O. C Ugbam (Department of Management, UNEC)
  • B. I. Chukwu (Department of Management, UNEC)



2.0       Justification

Micro financing is the provision of financial services to poor and low income households who do not have access to formal financial institutions (Conroy, 2003). Microfinance is also simply described also as banking for the poor. Microfinance programmes provide loans, savings and other financial services to low-income and poor people for use in small businesses. Originally based on traditional forms of community financing, microfinance is found all over the world in  such places as Africa, Latin America and Asia. The microfinance movement began in earnest in the early 1980s in places like Bangladesh and Bolivia, and has over the last 20 years, captured the interest of policy makers.


It has been argued that microfinance institutions are not a cure for poverty. However, micro finance institutions could create and provide a broad range of micro financial services that would support small businesses in their efforts to improve survival and sustainability. Nigerians, rich and poor, are enterprising and industrious. But the poor who account for over half of the population do not have access to formal banking services rely heavily on formal and informal micro finance institutions for credit. Nigeria’s large population of over 150 million people requires that there is continuous production of goods and services on daily basis for its sustenance. There is also the issue of poverty which is ravaging not only Nigeria but also many developing countries. The micro finance strategy appears to have been hugely successful in such countries as Bangladesh in ameliorating poverty but it has to be understood  how this success can replicated in other countries, including Nigeria. It equally has to be understood how far micro finance institutions have played their role of financial intermediation in Nigeria and other developing countries; how far the regulatory framework has been effective in guiding their operations; and the extent of linkage between  informal, semi-formal and formal financial service providers to micro and small scale rural entrepreneurs and small businesses.



3.0       Statement of Intent

A survey of microfinance credit to small firms has established a fairly strong link between size of banks and the supply of small business credit, with bigger banks devoting less proportion of their assets to small business lending than smaller banks.  Small banks are considered primary sources of credit to small businesses. Unlike highly capitalized and publicly traded firms which have access to capital markets, small businesses rely strongly on banks for small business credit, partly because of the challenges of accessing fund from the capital market.


Small businesses often concentrate their borrowing from financial institutions, mostly small banks with which they have long-term relationships, ie relationships that proved mutually beneficial to both parties over time. This relationship enables banks to collect information about the small businesses’ ability to repay such facilities, thereby reducing the risk of providing credit facilities. Thus, this study will focus on the role of micro finance institutions in the enhancement of sustainability of small businesses in Nigeria/some developing countries as well recommend policies that will ensure sustainability of microfinance institutions in  providing finance to small and medium scale businesses.



4.0       Research Focus

Nigeria has made conscious efforts at developing its small and medium scale enterprises sub-sector.


However, it is worrisome that despite the incentives, favourable policies and regulations and preferential support by government aimed at improving small businesses, they are yet perform to the expectations of Nigerians possibly due to several challenges. Some of these include inadequate planning, poor marketing strategies, poor management, poor technical know-how, and inadequate capital. Thus, the creation of micro finance institutions is expected to provide appropriate support systems and enabling environment for the success of these businesses. Only recently, the Central Bank of Nigeria set aside several billions of Naira to be provided as credit to these businesses. How these enterprises can access the funds and even any other funds, survive and grow and also repay the credit facilities obtained will form the research focus of our study. This is against the background of the significance of these enterprises in the economy.  Among the objectives of our study will be to assess the  impact of microfinance credits on the performance of small businesses in Nigeria. This will be extended to other developing countries especially on how the Bangladesh model can be replicated even in modified forms.



  • Profile of Research Group Members

Prof. J.U.J Onwumere{ Department of Banking and Finance, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC)}

Professor Josaphat U. J Onwumere, PhD is an economist, banking/finance expert and strategist. He was Head, Department of Banking and Finance, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus and currently Associate Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration.


A consummate intellectual and technocrat, he had been a practitioner in banking (occupied at various times, management positions in the Nigerian banking industry), management, research, strategy and consultancy (especially to local and international organizations).


He has lectured in many Nigerian universities mainly in the areas of Economics, and Banking and Finance. He is an inspirational speaker and a committed researcher/policy analyst. He has over ninety publications which include a single authored book, a co-authored book, two (2) co-edited texts, one (1) co-authored monograph, contributions to manuals and chapters in books, and several articles in local and international journals.


A versatile researcher, Professor Onwumere is interested in reading (generally), foot-balling and teaming with dedicated, hardworking, intelligent and creative people.



Dr. (Mrs) Obiamaka Priscilla Egbo FCAI, ICEN (Department of Banking and Finance, UNEC)     

Obiamaka Priscilla Egbo, Ph.D is a lecturer in the Banking and Finance Department, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. She is an Economist and Financial Analyst by profession. As a lecturer and researcher, she is neck deep in research, learning and documentation of issues related to economic growth in Nigeria. She is a competent, efficient and resourceful researcher with enviable research outputs. She is currently a member of the university and faculty consultancy committee. She has extensive consulting experience in information and communication technology, program and project management & evaluation, policy research in the areas of curriculum development, technology & innovation. She is currently a consultant with REMS/USAID Markets Project in Nigeria.  She has consulted for DFID, SAVI, Federal Ministry of Power, Enugu State Government, OrgLearning Consult, World Bank STEP B Project, Enugu State Ministry of Justice, Enugu State Ministry of Environment, FBN, WACOL among others. She is an ICT enthusiast and is also proficient in the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in business, teaching, research and learning. Her research interest is on Economics, Financial Management, Economic Growth and Development, International Trade and Finance, and Business Economics. She has to her credit several publications in peer‐reviewed journals and others presented at learned national and international conferences. She worked with Swiss Air and Sabena Airlines and had undergone several trainings in Administrative and Business Management at Swiss Air and Sabena Training Institute, Rue D’ Assaut, Brussels, Belgium and Switzerland. She has also worked in the Nigerian banking sector where she made a modest contribution with her years of experience in the sector. Obiamaka is also a child advocate and work as an Executive member with Kids Education Awareness Initiative, a non-governmental organization that cares for the vulnerable children and partners with some local and international agencies in this area. She is a fellow of the Institute of Corporate Administrators of Nigeria and Associate fellow, African Institute for Applied Economics (AIAE) and Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria.



Dr. (Mrs) Ifeoma Nwakoby (Department of Banking and Finance, UNEC)

Ifeoma holds a first degree in Accounting, a Masters degree in finance & business management, as well as a doctorate degree in banking and finance. She is also an Associate member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN). She is a recipient of the CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa) 2013 Small Grants for Thesis Writing. Ifeoma has worked as an Accountant and a Financial Analyst in the private and public sectors. She has also done Consulting work for different organisations, and presently lectures in the Department of Banking & Finance, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. Her research interests include deposit insurance, public finance, corporate governance, corporate finance, development finance as well as contemporary issues in accounting. Ifeoma enjoys reading novels, swimming, dancing and listening to music. She is happily married with three children.



Imo G. Ibe, ACIB, Ph.D (Department of Banking and Finance, Renaissance University)

Imo Godwin Ibe’s academic and career focus has always anchored on taking initiatives. He possesses a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc) degree in Accounting from the University of Port Harcourt,  Master of Science (M.Sc) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degrees in Banking and Finance from the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus. He became an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (ACIB) in 2010 and is a Graduate Member of the Nigeria Institute of Management (NIM) – 2007. Imo Godwin Ibe has enthusiastically sought challenging academic projects and has made strong contributions through research with over twenty-five (25) journal publications. He has also undertaken several consultancy services with both local and international agencies including OSSAP-MDGs, SPARC and DFID to mention but a few.



Dr. O.C Eneh (Institute for Development Studies, UNEC)

With B.Sc. Industrial Chemistry, M.Sc. Brewing Sc. & Tech., M.Sc. Development Studies, and Ph.D. Environmental Management and Control of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka; O.C. Eneh teaches and consults in Environmental Pollution Toxicology/Chemistry, Development Studies, Industrial Chemistry and Enterprise Development in some universities and polytechnics in Nigeria. He has scores of academic publications and international conference papers. Eneh is a Fellow of Chemical Society of Nigeria, Fellow of Institute of Chattered Chemists of Nigeria, Member of Pan African Chemistry Network, Member of African Technology Policy Studies Network, Member of International Society for Markets and Development, Member of International Academy of African Business and Development, Member of Nigerian Institute of Management, and Member of Institute of Brewing.



Dr. O.C Ugbam (Department of Management, UNEC)

Senior Lecturer and Ag. Head of Department of Management.


Dr. B.I Chukwu (Department of Management, UNEC)

Lecturer in the Department of Management.