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U. H. Igboeli, H. I. Bisallah

Abstract: Information Communication Technology has generally been acclaimed as an important tool exploited by medium and large-scale enterprises for boosting profitability and enhancing viability. Though Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) constitutes a major percentage of businesses in most countries, their ICT adoption rate is still low. This study examined the role of ICT as a tool that SMEs can deploy for the economic development of Nigeria. A questionnaire was employed and administered to a total of 175 SMEs randomly chosen from five different sectors of the Nigeria economy (educational, micro finance, transport, commerce and hospitality). Chi-square test was used to evaluate the hypothesis and the findings of the research revealed that (1) low awareness level of the benefits of ICT incorporation in the management process of most SMEs has been a major cause of its low adoption; (2) poor media transmission framework, high cost of ICT hardware, deficient government support and legislation for internet business among other factors have hindered the adoption of ICT in the management process of SMEs; (3) high cost of funds in Nigeria have also made it unprofitable for SMEs to source fund for ICT expansion and implementation. The research recommends among other measures, the investment on infrastructure and adequate incentives to promote the utilization of ICT among SMEs. Investment banks and other specialized institutions should brace up with their responsibilities and promote local industries through affordable credit schemes.
Keywords: management / Nigeria / SMEs / government support / viability / ENTERPRISES / MEDIUM / research recommends / ICT hardware

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