APPRAISING THE IMPORTANCE OF SMALL-SCALE INDUSTRY IN RURAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT – A STUDY OF SELECTED SMALL BUSINESSES IN ANAMBRA STATE
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Before, the various governments of this country – Local, State and Federal had directed attention on the establishment of gigantic industries in the urban centres of the country. This they believed, though erroneously, that large scale industry is the only yardstick of measuring the economic power of any country. This crave for large scale industry was dominant during the oil boom (Isemin, 1988:19). This resulted in the utter neglect of the nation’s rural areas which contain about 85% of the nation’s total population. However, with dwindling of the oil money coupled with the oil crisis in the mid 80s, there was a sudden awareness on the part of the Federal Government that rural development should be the centre piece for industrial transformation (Omorodion,1989:8).
In realization of this, and in pursuance of its attainment, the Nigerian Government created various agencies such as the directorate of food, roads and rural infrastructures (DFRRI) to work in partnership with the rural communities towards the provision of amenities such as rural roads,
Pipe-born water and electricity which are essential for setting up small scale industry. In addition, the National Directorate of Employment was created to train and develop school leavers’ skills for independence. The directorate also provides financial and technical assistance to individuals wishing to start business of their own. Also they provide credit/loan scheme to help provide financial assistance to individuals to set-up small-scale business.
In spite all these efforts by the government, small scale businesses are still faced with lot of problems. Under capitalization creates the problem of not buying merchandise independently at best price, in adequate quality and qualities. Poor business accountability makes it difficulty to assess the operating results of the business and at times starves the firms of its liquid resources. Some of the Government polices and Regulations brings distortions in the structure and management of these businesses. Inadequate and poor maintenance of infrastructural facilities, inadequate capital/funding, lack of managerial skill and project counseling, misappropriation of funds by government officials, to mention but a few, it has helped to increase the problems small scale businesses in Nigerian rural communities (Chukwujekwu, 1987:3) .
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Small-scale industries in Anambra State play a lot of roles today just like their counter parts in other states of Nigeria. These roles go a long way to facilitate the growth and development in the country, thereby contribute to the development of the economy. (Chukwujekwu, 1987:1). Despite this contributions, they are faced with a lot of problems, Among such problems are insufficient of fund owing to limitation habits of the people. Thus, money for both services and expansion is always a major handicap. There is no managerial acumen owing to the proprietor’s limited education and training.
Along side this is the neglect of the nation’s rural areas visa-vise small-scale industry has left a serious hiatus in the economic development and progress of country. This gap has resulted in the scarcity of essential goods and services with a spiral effect of high inflation and general high price level and unequal distribution of income. Lack of rural development also resulted in the mass migration of people from rural areas to our urban centres and cities leading to rapid formation of ghettos and slums.
Most of the traditional skills possessed by people such as wood caving, cloth weaving and dyeing, mat making, iron smelting, etc
have been deserted in search of white collar jobs. As a result, most of these skills which could have been improved upon through encouragement and assistance of individuals to set up modern small-scale industries have been left to die away.
Beside, large-scale industry which we though formed the bed rock of economic development have become white elephant projects, that do not serve what they are established to serve. Some of them are producing under capacity. Some have been shut down due to lack of spare parts and raw materials. Others become a breeding ground for embezzlement by their various boards of directors and top government officials.
Therefore, the inclusion of small-scale industrial policy in our economic plan in the rural areas has enhanced the community development, growth and stability in the rural areas in particular and the Nigeria in general.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
(1) To ascertain the problems and prospects of small-scale industry in community development.
(2) To highlight the problems that stand against the success of small industries in Anambra State.
(3) To identify the proper steps that could be taken to increase the efficiency and encourage the establishment of small scale industries.
(4) To proffer solutions and recommendation that will hopefully be of great help to small scale business entrepreneurs elsewhere and new aspirants into small scale business.