Looking back at 2022; looking ahead to 2023


John Tria John Tria

At this point, many companies have taken stock of what happened in 2022 and completed their annual or strategic plans for 2023, and perhaps beyond.

For many, school and family reunions top the holiday agenda for the last two weeks of the year, events gleefully anticipated since they are able to celebrate face to face for the first time in three years.
Traffic in cities, even in Mindanao, is expected to be heavy. We are seeing the pre-pandemic traffic congestion. Shoppers hurry to buy gifts that they will wrap and for the first time in years, personally hand over to intended recipients.

Without a doubt, looking back at 2020-2022, we saw three years that affected many of us in various ways. For some, it brought health issues. For many, it brought economic difficulties. It forced many of us to recalibrate the way we do things.

For businesses, the past year included reorienting some supply chains, amending some business processes, and accelerated digitalization. The key element was how well cash was generated amid the thinner customer base, and how it flowed through the months to ensure business continuity and sustainability. The past year also brought discussions on whether to continue with hybrid working arrangements. In short, it forced us to think and rethink the way we did our business. This remains a work in progress for many.

Having realized these things, and looking ahead to 2023, here are some thoughts and hopes:

The recent announcement of the upgrade of the Asian Development banks growth forecasts for 2022 is a hopeful sign that shows us how the consumption of our 110 million population affects economic growth. Restricting this will dampen growth since a big chunk of our economy are service and trading enterprises that depend on the free movement of people to sell things or provide services. To sustain this growth, the economy needs to remain as free as it can under any circumstance, including recovering as quickly as possible after disasters. How open the economy remains, how well it recovers, will affect how businesses operate.

High inflation rate needs to be tamed. High costs weaken consumption, since the population will spend less due to high prices. This results in lower sales and weaker growth not only for the economy, but also for many businesses.

Related to this, public transport upgrades need to be accelerated. This will reduce vehicular traffic on city streets and make movement faster and cheaper within cities where economic activities are.

Why Christmas matters

We wish you the best of the Christmas season.

Beyond the usual festivities, may the season of the birth of Jesus inspire us to forgive ourselves for our failings, forgive those who may have wronged us, gaslit us, maligned us, as we look towards a future with hopes renewed. In the new normal, this is why Christmas matters even more. In whatever new normal we find ourselves in, Jesus remains the same, and his birth always heralds a new hope for us and our relationships. Merry Christmas!