The pandemic COVID-19 would remain to stay with us, probably for a long time. As the world accepts the reality of pandemic and forced to live with it, state heads need to quickly draw cognizant plans for the citizens to meet the challenges psychologically, or the economy would nosedive further to a stage that would be difficult to repair. The sooner they choose to empower themselves and their citizens with sustainable, progressive, and inclusive measures, the faster their economy can roll back to the pre-COVID-19 stage.
COVID-19 has had an adverse effect on all segments of GCC Business World. It is not a matter of what has been affected but more of whatnot. There shouldn’t be any doubts that when the actual numbers come in, they would be shocking at the least.
Nothing in modern human history has caused such a global economic impact and rattled an average common man’s life. Not even World Wars!! Contemplating on postponing impact studies to a post-COVID-19 environment would be foolishness. Because any educated guess would give at least 3-4 years to overcome the effects of this pandemic. Government establishments especially in GCC should only attempt to overcome this crisis after fully understanding the complexity of these facts and after collecting relevant knowledge on all aspects and shortcomings of this subject. This is not a setting that can be mitigated only through tried and tested age-old policies that were used to tackle catastrophes earlier.
AN IMMEDIATE COMEBACK THROUGH USED STRATEGIES ONLY IS NOT POSSIBLE. WHY?
As few pessimists, anti-GCC media, and personnel would suggest and propagate around the world, this is not a fall that has no comeback. We all know that the World is not coming to an end. It will move towards new sunrises every day. But our Social life along with the Business world is not going to be the same anymore. There are several reasons for it. We have hundreds of reasons in front of us like inefficiencies of human resources, damage to the supply chain, the fall of the manufacturing sector, waning commercial banking sector, inadequate supply of liquidity, etc. Yet, all of them will be fixed. The game we are about to witness is how fast and which all nations led by their leaders would lead this progressive comeback.
Empowering the society would be the theme that would deserve the most consideration in the crisis management plans of any government during COVID-19. The society has already drifted into several mental issues. This is the matter that should be addressed and resolved first. Measures for it should be executed immediately as well. The sooner governments and related systems transform themselves into administrations which bring confidence and hope to a depressed, hopeless, and reclusive population and lead them, the quicker they can return and progress back to remarkable heights. The truth is that there is no country or society in the history of mankind that has not suffered failures or setbacks. Yet, very few nations have converted those failures into positive stepping stones to success.
Most people are battling their own psychological struggles now; Anxiety based on speculations, irrational fear, fragile thoughts, vague disturbances, thought of ‘life only being so much’, variations in the quality of enjoyment & joyful thinking, inferiority caused by beauty consciousness, lack of interest towards material things, and religious advice only to intensify them to their limits. People all over the world are in an unusual mindset today with all of these issues. The situation isn’t much different in GCC. To strengthen the marketplace, to make social life fast and dynamic, the first challenge in front of every government is to rescue its people from the mindsets defined above.
Other than the “general psychological struggles” mentioned above, concerns like How will the upcoming economic change affect me? Will the rise of competition online created by COVID-19 affect my business? Will it invalidate expertise? Will I receive an income that justifies my efforts? Will I not receive any salary for months? Will market uncertainties lead to job loss? Would I have to work overtime if my colleagues are laid off? Will I be affected if unknown viruses like COVID-19 arise again? How will I die if I am affected? are already critically affecting human resources. This is causing several complex issues like lack of willpower, depression, anxiety, despair, inferiority complex, irrational fear, sleeplessness, hyper-devotion. This will for sure seriously affect productivity and creative thinking of our human resources.
This is where every ruler needs to transcend into the position of a captain. It is true, the term captain is often related to that of a ruler, but it has a greater societal meaning. There are rulers in the provinces of every country. We have seen rulers around the world stepping on to the throne due to favorable circumstances. We can also see them leading their countries steadily as there are no big waves (challenges) for them to confront. But many of them are destined to a dustbin of post-COVID history. This is where the historic mission of rulers with leadership is. COVID-19 is aiding the birth of rulers with captaincy who will be remembered, worshipped with their names written in golden letters in world history within the next ten years.
The dynamism & confidence of the public created on the basis of feelings that my life is precious, it is not immaterial and it should be lived in happiness and should be celebrated is the catalyst for any marketplace and industrial world. The growth of individuals with this mindset is greatly visible in a society’s and the country’s happiness and composure. And because of that, we should spread the energy which stimulates progressive living, enjoyment, and celebration.
Rulers and the ruling system should now work as beacons which constantly spread optimism in the pitch-black human minds filled with darkness created by COVID-19. For that, administrators should try to bring the audio, visual, and print media along with the government’s principles. Instead of spreading pessimism/negativity constantly, media should always showcase plans which extend realistic optimism, awareness campaigns, various programs that develop confidence as a guiding light to the society. Yet, the truth should not be hidden from the people. If done so, the public will fail to understand the issues in the right manner. Government and systems including the media should engage in a process that makes people aware of the truth as well as updates them on how they are dealt with my authorities.
Out of all the consequences, purchaser delirium is the most deadly. Since the worldwide episode of coronavirus, the frenzy and dread among people, in general, all through the globe is spreading quicker than the infection. The effect of COVID-19 isn’t just constrained to the interesting side of the market, yet the flexible chain is additionally hampered similarly.
To put it straight, ‘social attitude development’ has to become an obligation of every nation and every association in its industrial sector. Execution plans and reporting which include the messaging of “My life, From now on or once in a lifetime, should not fade in front of the realities which was caused by a coincidence or freak of nature, but, should be enjoyed, and celebrated rooting in honesty” should be the dynamic mantra of every nation and its industrial world to secure the future of its market. Only then, we can lead the market swiftly into progressive growth. Stimulus tactics like these are certainly apt to bring back the civilization which has remained stunned in front of fate.
Nations with leaders who guide activities like these will overcome the COVID-19 crisis quickly. Countries that don’t, will definitely drop into the abyss.
IMPORTANT ACTIVITIES GCC COUNTRIES NEED TO UNDERTAKE FOR RAPID REVIVAL
Conducing an expert study on the subject ‘social attitude issues & development’ with the help of experts in psychology and the following execution of instructions based on it should the first on the list of studies that deserve the most priority. The same was not the thought process in past situations of any economic slowdown. As a result, no government had conducted any studies like it directly. But the situation is entirely different now.
Every ruler should quickly and profoundly understand to “change me and my country appropriately to the world’ along with the truth that ‘I cannot change the world to suit me” and make legislative alterations favoring social life across the globe. Dubai has progressed far ahead in this aspect. Countries including Saudi Arabia and other GCC regions have also taken a few steps in this direction. They need to pick up the pace in this situation.
There has to be a deep focus on sectors like Entertainment & Hospitality (with a realistic goal of becoming Asia’s Lifestyle and Happiness Hub), Transportation, World eBusiness Hub, Electronics, Software, Asia’s Premium Higher Education Hub, Artificial agriculture, natural minerals, petrochemicals and by-products by moving away from the dependence on oil. These are the sectors where the majority of Air, Water, Road transportation facilities, Infrastructure services, Financial Capital and a high-quality minority youth population within the GCC countries should be employed.
Major grievances and fear among the global investor community against GCC are mainly related to frequent modifications to the rules and regulations and moreover an inconsistent administrative system. Even regions separated by few kilometers have conflicting rules and regulations!! Rules which keep changing within every few months. Not only this situation has to change but it should also be assured that they are followed up with rules and regulations which remain consistent. This should also be guaranteed by every micro-legal system. This is a necessity to attract investors and entrepreneurs.
Powerful tactics to convert lazy and lethargic youngsters into an energetic, pragmatic, nationalistic young community that understands that they should also contribute towards the future generations, should be planned and implemented.
Planning and execution of strategies to educate students from schools to colleges on the past outcomes reached due to the lack of clear long-term vision by their ancestors along with making them realistically understand the national interest and global circumstances, as part of the long-term development could be considered as irrelevant but deserves the most importance.
Note: The author is not saying that there shouldn’t be a focus on Oil. But it should not be in abundance, as it used to be in the past. Think about cars running 50-70 kilometers on 1 liter of Petrol. Cars that can exceed 200 kilometers per hour are expected to be on the road soon. Numerous researches are underway to improve Petrol and Diesel’s power efficiency all over the world. All of them will definitely see results and the Oil industry will become powerful again within a few decades. So, we shouldn’t fully take away hopes from Oil. Instead, we should also try to become substantial contributors to the areas mentioned above as well.
Changes that expedite the recovery from losses caused by this temporary depression into multi-folds benefits within the next 2 years, making the planet more beautiful, improving humans, and enhancing the way we enjoy life should happen in the economy. We shouldn’t wait for COVID-19 to retreat for the same. Rather, even before COVID-19 withdraws, this is the time to begin every robust campaign which could lead mankind into the hope of greater expectations, dreams, and enjoyment. Global Organizations and Government establishments should think towards them and act without wasting any time.
WHAT SHOULD GLOBAL BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC ORGANIZATIONS DO?
Tourism, one of the most significant sections of the global economy, is witnessing an estimated job loss of 75 million with a decrease of $40- 50 billion in revenue. Actual numbers are yet to come. Those might be huge. Yet, 96% of travel and tourism venues across the world are weighing to open within a month. Consolidated promotional activities focusing on ‘social attitude development’ would be required to ensure that their future is safe. Organizations like the World Trade Organisation, World Tourism Organisation, World Travel & Tourism Council can collectively work towards ‘social attitude development’ activities. Global organizations should request and guarantee government support for these activities.
If tourism ministries across the globe and other organizations in the sector such as World Tourism Organization continue to waste time in overconfidence that they will recover quickly from the situation just like they did on previous calamities like 2008-09 recessions and the SARS outbreak in 2003 through some quick remedies, the losses caused by them might not be recoverable in several decades.
If our approach is not built on ‘social attitude development’, sectors like Fashion, Personal Grooming, Home Décor, Automobile, Construction Works, Luxury Products, Restaurants, Travel And Tourism, Film, Dance, Music, Television, Radio, Events, etc would move towards greater distress with accelerated growth only in segments like premium homes, gadgets supporting WFH, organic food, online services, healthcare, fitness, medical insurance, spirituality, psychology as the public panic.
Remember; A population that remains realistic and lives their lives in optimism is the greatest asset any country can have.