Looking ahead to 2024, Rene Romero and Architect Bryan John “BJ” Mangio have painted a picture of the business outlook that is both challenging and full of potential for growth.
The duo, speaking at the Balitaan at Talakayan of Central Luzon Media Association (CLMA) Pampanga Chapter at the Gracelane Hotel in the capital City of San Fernando, provided insights on the obstacles and opportunities that the business sector may face in the coming years.
One of the key challenges highlighted by Romero is the potential for high inflation in 2024. This can have a significant impact on businesses, affecting the purchasing power of consumers and the profitability of companies.
Rising costs for goods and services can lead to higher production costs, ultimately limiting a company's ability to remain competitive and make necessary investments for growth.
High inflation can also have a ripple effect, impacting the stability of supply chains and the overall economic landscape.
Romero also raised the possibility of the El Nino Phenomenon jeopardizing agricultural production in 2024. The dry spell may undermine the economic gains we have so far achieved after the gloom that Covid-19 pandemic brought.
This time around, Romero has factored-in an incoming obstacle in his prediction on the economy. The last time he shared his excitement of the brighter things in the offing for the country, he did not include overseas armed conflicts in the equation.
To be fair to Romero, who would have foreseen the conflict between Ukraine and Russia to erupt into a full-blown war or Hamas fighters to suddenly launch an attack on Israeli soil?
Given the importance of agriculture to the economy, any disruptions in this sector could have far-reaching consequences, affecting food prices and supply chain stability.
This is something that businesses will need to monitor and prepare for in the coming years, he said.
The availability of credit is also a concern for businesses, with Romero highlighting the potential impact of high interest rates on bank loans.
This could limit the borrowing and investment ability of enterprises, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses. We cannot overemphasize the importance of affordable credit for businesses to fuel growth and innovation.
Romero believes this to be an issue wanting resolution in the upcoming years.
Despite these challenges, Romero and Mangio expressed optimism about the growth prospects for certain industries in 2024.
They believe that the services, construction, and manufacturing sectors will experience growth, presenting opportunities for businesses to expand and thrive.
Mangio also projected an increase in interest for rural living in 2024, driven by factors such as safety, security, and potentially lower costs of living.
The pandemic, Mangio said, has changed the way urban dwellers think of the countryside. After the lockdowns, many people from the city have started investing on real estates in the provinces.
This trend could create opportunities for businesses operating in rural areas and stimulate local economies, Mangio shared.
To navigate the challenges and capitalize on the growth opportunities, Romero and Mangio emphasized the importance of digitization for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
They urged businesses to incorporate digital technologies into their operations to increase efficiency, improve customer experience, and remain competitive in the evolving market.
Business cannot stagnate in a highly-competitive market and the trend leans more on technological advancements.
They also highlighted the support that organizations like PAMCHAM can provide to MSMEs, offering assistance and mentoring on digitalization and efficient financial management.
This guidance, thru the “big brother, small brother” setup is invaluable for businesses looking to navigate the digital transformation and optimize their financial resources.