28 February 2014

Gala - Powering the Masses - A case for adopting it as a Financial Index

It’s essentially sausage or beef roll, but in Nigeria, it is known as ‘Gala.’ Manufactured by UACN, this piece of beef encased in pastry is one of the drivers of the mass populace. I have known Gala for as long as I have known myself. As a little boy, I used to appreciate family members who brought this delicacy from Lagos or Ibadan during their visits. My siblings and me would share one roll amongst us, the taste never forgotten for days afterwards.

Nowadays Gala has other competing sausage or beef rolls in in the market, they are however still collectively referred to as Gala, a testimony to the power of the Gala brand.

I haven’t eaten one in a very long time, certainly not within the past 25 years, but of its utility, there is no doubt. You only need to drive or be driven on Lagos roads to appreciate the role this small roll plays in powering the Nigeria populace and in effect driving the economy.

Many people swear by Gala in their commute to and from work. At 50 Naira a shot, it is an inexpensive and quick way of filling the tummy ‘with something’. Aided and abetted by the Lagos traffic, street sellers of Gala earn a living from commuters for whom Gala is a sure way of keeping body and soul together until they arrive at their respective destinations. I have no statistics on the number of Galas sold daily, but it is not impossible that consumption would be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions.

Why is Gala so popular, first, it is cheap and affordable, secondly, it is said to be filling, and most importantly it benefits from the tremendous goodwill that its manufacturer, UAC of Nigeria, enjoys amongst Nigerians.

If ever Nigeria’s Finance Ministry decides to adopt a product as an alternate currency or as a financial index, say to measure GDP parity, the humble Gala will surely get my vote.

In any case, given that a packet of gala is 50 Naira, it means that going by the 2011 figure of $273 billion, Nigeria’s GDP is worth 8 trillion Galas. Not bad for a newly minted MINT economy. PostcardfromLagos