– By Ardian Lekaj
Today COVID-19 or coronavirus has become the headline of the day in every country of the world. It is no wonder that everyone is focused on this topic and has neglected other decisive topics for the economic, social and political reality of Europe and world, such as Brexit, Iran/Iraq situation, Syrian refuges, and the Turkish-Greek border conflict. According to the NAO (National Audit Office) statistics Brexit costs English taxpayers about 5 billion Euros. As of October 2019, there are 22 thousand people working for this issue, but no one declares transparent and well-argued figures for this unprecedented processes and its impact on the British economy. Naturally, it is very early to say how much the coronavirus impact will affect the economy, but let us take just one example by the IATA (International Air Transport Association), which predicts a loss of 56 to 101 billion Euro only in the flight sector.
The number of reservation has decreased by 50-60%. It is not yet known how airlines that have been long known to have problems such as “Alitalia” or “Norwegian Air “will cope with this situation. A contraction in world stock markets by about $40 billion happened because of SARS. However, since then the Chinese economy has grown from the 6th place to the 2nd one. In 2003, the Chinese economy represented 4.2% of the world economy, while today it represents around 16.3%. On the other side, China is currently the most affected country by this pandemic, but it is more economically powerful today than it was in 2003.
The new rules that will be imposed due to coronavirus will cause more damage than the virus itself. All specialists claim that this virus is not stronger than the flu, however new restrictions are being set everyday. This will be strongly felt in people’s pockets. After such a pandemic unemployment, diseases, etc., will increase even more.
Coronavirus is a biological problem, not an economic one. No matter how much money is put on the market, it will not help the situation. Markets need to understand that the created economic situation will not change by printing money. This is a psychological process that will probably bring bigger crises and cause a lot of losses.
What can we do as a business community?
Some small things that can make a significant difference:
Today, we should be responsible for our work, health and clients. All hotel administrators should thoroughly inspect every hotel environment, restaurant, bar, etc., and declare voluntarily if the environment is contaminated. Inspectors who control businesses must be certified as healthy and virus-free. Employees should have the right to declare themselves as healthy without submitting a medical report. We as the Albanian Diaspora Business Chamber will try to create a worldwide network with entrepreneurs, to manage the market demands. As well as, cooperation with commercial banks will be required to finance the import market for immediate products. Four months ago, after the devastating earthquake of November 26th, Albanians in the world showed that they support each other in difficulty. The second test for us came very soon, but this time we will succeed together.
* The author is the Chairman of the Albanian Diaspora Business Chamber