The Power supply whether to large corporations or SMEs is a very critical factor for ensuring performance. Access to a reliable power supply is widely considered as vital to the operations of most small and medium-scale businesses. Surveys suggest that, in most developing countries, firms themselves consider access to electricity to be one of the biggest constraints to their business. Inadequate electricity services can constrain business operations because a supply of electricity may simply be unavailable and, if it is available, securing a connection may be difficult and the supply unreliable, even before its cost is considered. High quality and accessible infrastructure encourages productivity, business growth and investment, but when it is poor and unreliable, businesses’ productivity and growth suffer. An unreliable electricity supply – electricity insecurity – can affect several aspects of business operations. The most significant impacts to productivity can be due to forced and unexpected halts in manufacturing processes, including running assembly lines, using machine tools, or producing textiles. Communications, delivery times, lighting and refrigeration are also affected by electricity insecurity, with consequences for the routine operation of businesses and their ability to ensure delivery times.
Research on SME problems in Nigeria have so far concentrated on variables such as product and service development challenges, difficulties in accessing finance, competitiveness of SMEs and government policy and intervention in the area of SME development (Abdullah, 2013; Olumuyiwa and Mnse (2008). Whiles these variables were studied independently, there is a relationship between other variables like the price of energy (electric power) and an SME’s capacity toproduce optimally, its sales volume and labour cost. For SMEs in particular and for national economic development in general, the activities of electric power providers are vital and they need to be monitored because “in the utilities industry, where fully/sufficiently competitive environments are not achieved, the general public’s interests are at risk, either through development in general, the activities of electricity power providers are vital price exploitation, or through the degradation of quality of supply and customer services” (Chau, 2009).
Nigeria has an abundant supply of energy sources. It is endowed with thermal, hydro, solar, and oil resources, and yet it is described as an energy-poor country because the sector is relatively under-developed. The statistics available show that only about one third of Nigeria or approximately 40 per cent of the population has access to electricity. The distribution of electricity shows great disparities between rural and urban, and between residential and industrial areas in the urban centers (Ali-Akpajia and Pyke, 2003). The very poor quality of power supply in recent years has been a major constraint on the performance of most industries in the economy.
In this regard, adequate supply and distribution of electricity constitute a central development issue which cannot be over-emphasized. Apart from serving as the pillar of wealth creation in Nigeria, it is also the nucleus of operations and subsequently the engine of growth for all sectors of the economy(Ayodele, 2001). In recognition of the consolidating linkage between the energy sector and the other sectors of the economy, electricity development and utilization therefore have pervasive impacts one range of socio-economic activities and consequently on the economic progressiveness and wellbeing of citizens of the country. It is in the light of this facts that Okonkwo (2002) stated that there is a correlation between electricity supply, industrialization, and business growth in Nigeria.
However, Considerable efforts have been made to establish the relationship between energy consumption and economic growth. Very few studies have been carried out to investigate the relationship between the energy sub-sector (electricity supply) and economic development in Nigeria. Even the studies in this energy sub-sector and growth tend to be descriptive (Ayodele, 2001; Adegbulugbe and Akinbami, 2002), while others focus on electricity consumption (Ukpong, 1976; Subair and Oke, 2008) rather than supply (which is the bane of economic growth). One of the studies (Udah, 2010) that focused on electricity supply suffered from model mis-specification. The present study hopes to fill the gap by correctly specifying the model and assessing the relationship between power supply and the performance of SMEs in Nigeria.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The role of electricity in Nigeria’s economy is prodigiously significant for growth and development. The need for a reliable supply of electricity to the SMEs is indeed an important factor for reducing their alternative cost (Ofosu-Ahenkorah,2008). This is because there is hardly any type of business in Nigeria that operates without electricity supply. In fact, electricity serves as raw material for most small businesses (Watson, Viney and Schomaker, 2002). However, Nigeria has recorded a very high rate of power instability over the years, and this has been a major panacea in most industries. As a result of this poor power supply, many small and medium-scale enterprises invest in their own stand-by generators to ensure an electricity supply, but these are often expensive compared to electricity from the grid. Generators also require some technical expertise as well as reliable supplies of fuel and spare parts. Yet, in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere own-generation by firms is reported to have increased in recent years.
Firms investing on alternative sources of power supply have discovered that it is quite expensive and in most cases, capital intensive to operate on a constant generator power supply. Incidentally, in Nigeria, electricity as an essential service enjoys protection from competition and consumers really have little or no choice (Chau, 2009; Watson et al., 2002). Economically, this implies that if there are difficulties along the supply chain of electricity, then the nation’s growth and development will be vulnerable. Secondly, the interests of the general public, especially those who rely significantly on electricity, will be put to risk through price hikes and “degradationof quality of supply and customer service”(Chau, 2009). As a result of the above observations, a study of the effect of power supply on the performance small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) is therefore a crucial and necessary step for informed government action on power supply.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The broad objective of this study is to investigate the impact of power supply on the performance of SMEs in Nigeria. However, the specific objectives are as follows;
1. To determine the impact of power supply on the productivity of SMEs in Nigeria
2. To determine the impact of power supply on the profitability of SMEs in Nigeria
3. To determine the impact of power supply on the cost competitiveness of SMEs in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
For the purpose of achieving the objectives of this study, answers will be provided for the following research questions listed below:
1. Does power supply have any significant effect on the productivity of SMEs in Nigeria?
2. Is the impact of power supply on the profitability of SMEs in Nigeria significant?
3. Does power supply have any significant impact on the cost-competitiveness of SMEs in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
The broad objective of this study is to assess the performance of power supply to the performance of small and medium scale industries in the state. The specification objectives of the study are as follows:
H0: Poor power supply have no significant effect on performance of small and medium scale industries in Nigeria
H1: Poor power supply have significant effect on performance of small and medium scale industries in Nigeria
H02: There is no positive linkage between power supply and the performance of small and medium scale industries in Nigeria
H2: There is a positive linkage between power supply and the performance of small and medium scale industries in Nigeria
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of great importance to the management of SMEs, as power supply is the bedrock of every business, as the study seek to enumerate the benefit of steady power supply to the growth of SMEs, the study will also be of importance to the major players in the power sector as the findings of this study posit that availability of power supply is equal to adequate returns on investment. The study will also be of importance to researchers who intends to embark on a study in a similar topic, finally, the study will also be of importance to students, teachers lecturers, academia’s and the general public as the literature will add to the pool of existing literature.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of the study covers the impact of power supply on the performance of SMEs in Nigeria, but in the cause of the study, there wre some factors which militate against the scope of the study:
a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study
b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.
c) Organizational privacy: Limited Access to the selected auditing firm makes it difficult to get all the necessary and required information concerning the activities.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
A power supply is an electrical device that supplies electric power to an electrical load. The primary function of a power supply is to convert electric current from a source to the correct voltage, current, and frequency to power the load.
Small and medium-sized enterprises or small and medium-sized businesses are businesses whose personnel numbers fall below certain limits
Performance is completion of a task with application of knowledge, skills and abilities. In work place, performance or job performance means good ranking with the hypothesized conception of requirements
1.9 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows
Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study