COVID-19 and the economic slowdown is a global humanitarian crisis. We are seeing an unprecedented confluence of a global pandemic, economic crisis, and political crisis. Add to this, the social impact from the distrust being pandered by certain quarters.
This crisis affects all of us no matter what.
Our thoughts go to those fighting the pandemic on the frontlines, in particular the health workers and those in essential services. Spare a prayer to those who have been badly affected by the spread of the virus. And we are yet to see any signs of the end of the spread of COVID-19. However, we remain hopeful and confident that we will fight this pandemic as each of us does our part to contain it. We have to.
As we fight the crisis and the immediate battles, we will also need to start thinking of the recovery of the economy. It is inevitable that we will face a recession. The question is how deep and how long will it take for us to recover? For many, this will worsen the pain of the immediate crisis due to the pandemic. For many, there is a need for social safety nets and opportunities to remobilise and reskill themselves. New enterprises (particularly future-ready ones) will need to rise from the ashes of the crisis. Financial capital will need to be retargeted and take on slightly higher risk ventures to give the country a fighting chance at recovery. Some resources will need to be re-allocated here given the inevitability of recession and its effects.
It is therefore hugely important that we ensure we have the best chance to get us out of this recession and put some thinking into what gives us the best chance of recovery. Perhaps also it is an opportunity to re-shape, re-invent and reform the economy, which up until now may have not been in the right state of health. Perhaps it is time to fix some of the distortions and imperfections in our economy. Perhaps it is time to fix and strengthen our institutions, and to depoliticise them once and for all. Perhaps it is time for us to put ourselves on a strong launchpad into the future economy. Perhaps it is time for us to deal with education once and for all, to fix our skill sets and the needs of our enterprises for the right skill sets that can put us on a path of future growth. Perhaps it is time to help our people and enterprises be more future-ready.
After all, wiser people have often said that in crisis there are opportunities. So let us not waste a good crisis and miss the chance to fix things.
Do share your thoughts about how you see this beyond the immediate crisis?