Just like Don Corleone said in the movie Godfather “I am a superstitious man and I do not like bad omens”
2020 a leap year is now drawing to a close and yet I have received only 5 Christmas cards as against 100 that I got at this time of 2019. That is not all, I have received only 2 thin and weightless hampers compared to the 20 bountiful and hefty hampers I got in 2019.
I said to myself gee whiz, last year I attended no less than 8 ends of year parties from the Eko Convention Centre to the Landmark Auditorium in December, but this year none.
To make the end of year celebrations super fascinating, I had been to the airport numerous times to receive visiting friends and relatives from the U.S., Canada and Dubai. This year, I have not welcomed any relative, friend or associate from abroad. What difference 12 months can make.
The Nigerian economy was firing on all cylinders, chalking up a growth rate of 2.55% in Q4 2019. The Naira was trading at N362/$ in the elusive parallel market and a bag of rice was selling at N18,000 per bag in August. The retail price of onions was N17,000 per bag and a ticket from Lagos to Abuja was N28,000.00.
Today it is a totally different picture. Rice is now N30,000.00, onions is N75,000.00 and a bag of flour is now N14,500.00. These anecdotal proxies tell you why food inflation is at a staggering 18.3% as against 14.67% in 2019. It also helps you understand the dramatically changing macro-economic picture and the challenges of an economy in stagflation with declining incomes and a negative balance of trade.
But not to worry, the worst is now over and the long arduous journey of a slow and difficult economic recovery has commenced.
In this edition of the LBS Executive Breakfast at dinner time held virtually, Bismarck Rewane and the FDC Think Tank look introspectively at 2020 and project into 2021 with forecasts on the leading indicators and the new world order of a Biden presidency in a Trump world.