Exclusive Interview : H. E. Zulfiquar Ghadiyali on Current Pandemic & Its effect on Human Life & Business

H.E. Ghadiyali is Masters in International business and hospitality from University of Cornell,USA. He also has Masters from university of Derby, UK. BSc in Hospitality and Food science from IHM, Mumbai. H.E is Executive Director of Directions investment holding Co.

H.E. Mr. Ghadiyali’s family business spans across Asia and Middle East in field of Real Estate, hospitality and General Trading. H.E. Mr. Ghadiyali is Founder of Los Angeles based Film and entertainment production company called Cinemoi which focuses on artificial intelligence and virtual reality.

H.E. Ghadiyali have been involved in various Social entrepreneurship projects in field of education, renewable energy, medical and healthcare services across Asia, India and Africa under his chairmanship at Blue Sky Villages- social Impact invetsment enterprise. Blue Sky Village focuses on social entrepreneurship initiatives across the world. H.E. represents industry and society at large and have been pioneer in supporting companies from across the world to establish in Middle East and North Africa with support of highest levels .

H.E. MR. Ghadiyali is also Chief Strategy officer for Lycee Edication technology which is partner company of Microsoft.

H.E. Is also on board of BTour chain under Chairmanship of Prime Minister Seoung Han of South Korea. The company is focussed on philanthropy using blockchain technology. H.E. Is involved on various social and political initiatives and commands several important positions across mining, logistics, Aerospace sectors. H.E. Ghadiyali is also an important shareholder at Encanto Potash Corporations, Toronto stock exchange listed entity with mining reserves worth more than 150 Billion Dollars besides being an important board member of World Defence holdings and ING Robotics based out of Montreal, Canada.

Read his Exclusive Interview on the current pandemic and its effect on human life and businesses.

 

1. What is the impact of COVID 19 on global economy? Resurgence possible in how many months.

Amid the COVID Pandemic, several nations across the world resorted to lockdowns to “flatten the curve” of the infection. These lockdowns meant confining millions of citizens to their homes, shutting down businesses and ceasing almost all economic activity. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the global economy is expected to shrink by over 3 per cent in 2020 – the steepest slowdown since the Great Depression of the 1930s.The pandemic has pushed the global economy into a recession, which means the economy starts shrinking and growth stops. Across the world, Covid-19-related disruptions have led to millions filing for unemployment benefits. Unemployment and job losses are expected to rise as the impact of the pandemic on the labour market worsens. It reveals that the manufacturing output in many countries has gone done, which reflects a fall in external demand and growing expectations of a fall in domestic demand. The IMF’s estimate of the global economy growing at -3 per cent in 2020 is an outcome “far worse” than the 2009 global financial crises. Economies such as the US, Japan, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain are expected to contract this year by 5.9, 5.2, 6.5, 7, 7.2, 9.1 and 8 per cent respectively.

Developed economies have been hit harder, and together they are expected to grow by -6 per cent in 2020. Emerging markets and developing economies are expected to contract by -1 per cent. If China is excluded from this pool of countries, the growth rate for 2020 is expected to be -2.2 per cent.

Due to the fall in travel, global industrial activity has been affected. Oil prices fell further in March as the transportation section, which accounts for 60 per cent of the oil demand, was hit due to several countries imposing lockdowns.
Due to lockdowns in China, followed by in the US and Europe, the demand for industrial metals reduced as factories shut down. As per IMF, China accounts for roughly half of the global demand for industrial metals.
a decrease in food prices by 2.6 per cent in 2020, caused by supply chain disruptions, border delays, food security concerns in regions affected by Covid-19 and export restrictions.
In the lockdown period, while the price of cereals, oranges, seafood and arabica coffee has increased, prices of tea, meat, wool and cotton have declined. Further, the decline in oil prices has put a downward pressure on the prices for palm oil, soy oil, sugar and corn.
How long its going to take for recovery to begin and be achieved is not yet clearly visible but it will be longer and not a easy one.

The New Normal will force paradigm shift in businesses and way of life. For example, People will resort more and more to contactless lifestyle. Paper money may become history, Retail outlets, shopping malls may take longer to recover. Overall, it will be at least a year or two for complete recovery but let me warn you- World will not be same as we’re used to.

 

2. What should you recommend we do globally or nationally for its fast Resurgence ?

Around the world, life as we know it has changed drastically. Global leaders and millions of citizens are facing the challenge of a lifetime. The COVID-19 pandemic is threatening not only healthcare systems, but also the livelihoods of citizens and the stability of economies.
If we do not stop the virus, many people will die. If attempts to stop the pandemic cause severe damage to social and economic networks, people will experience large-scale suffering in the medium and long term. The world must act on both of these fronts— suppressing the virus and mitigating the negative impact on citizens’ livelihoods—at the same time. The progress we make on those fronts will determine the shape of the economic recovery. The threat of COVID-19 to lives and livelihoods will fully resolve only when enough people are immune to the disease to blunt transmission, either from a vaccine or direct exposure. Until then, governments that want to restart their economies must have public-health systems that are strong enough to detect and respond to cases. Leaders should recognize that regions may differ significantly in their readiness to restart their economies.
The first and most obvious factor in determining readiness is the number of new cases in a given area. Regions with significant ongoing transmission should expect that restarting economic activity will only lead to more transmission. Case numbers and, more importantly, hospitalizations need to be low enough for a health system to manage individually rather than through mass measures.

A second factor in thinking about this is the strength of the systems in place for detecting, managing, and preventing new cases. Elements of these systems include the following:


— Adequate medical capacity, especially of intensive care units (ICUs), for those with severe disease.


— Ability to perform a diagnostic test for COVID-19 with a fast turnaround time.


— Systems for effectively identifying and isolating cases and contacts, including digital tools for real- time sharing of critical data (however, different systems will be appropriate for different countries and contexts).


— Adequate medical resources, including trained doctors, beds, and personal protective equipment.


— Public education informed by the best scientific evidence available.

3.What instruments of pro-development programs for reviving economic processes should be used to make the INDIAN economy recover from the crisis faster?

In India, Finance Minister announced the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package, to provide relief to Medium, Small and Micro Enterprises (MSMEs) in the form of an increase in credit guarantees.
First, India’s manufacturing, labour and distribution chains are tightly intertwined and this will need to be taken into account when lifting lockdowns. Take the electronics manufacturing sector, for example. It requires inputs from sectors as diverse as metal working, plastic moulding and paper processing; disallowing any of these could limit production.
Second, India’s economic activity is concentrated — 130 districts that are classified by the ministry of health and family welfare as falling in the red zone comprise 40% of India’s GDP; the 352 green zone districts, where most activity is allowed, account for less than a quarter.
Third, states may choose to keep red zone districts locked down beyond containment zones in order to minimise the risk of infection spreading, even though the ministry of home affairs (MHA) has allowed them to reopen. Mumbai and Pune, which represent 6% of India’s GDP, are two such examples. Furthermore, varying interpretations of government guidelines by local frontline administrators could confound the issue. In the dynamic environment anticipated, such guidelines may change frequently, needing an agile implementation capability on the ground.
Therefore, India needs to build a granular, dynamic, locally implemented lockdown and restart management capability. Such a capability would consider several measures beyond the essential ones needed for managing the health situation (for instance, critical care capacity creation, disease tracking and spread prevention).


4. Which sectors are more affected by the Corona virus economically in the developed economy like Saudi Arabia? How fast revival can be possible?

Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest crude exporter, has taken steps to revive economic growth hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price crash, including making an unprecedented transfer of government funds to the sovereign wealth fund. The country’s economy has been severely hit this year. Saudi Arabia’s budget for 2020, announced in December, assumed an oil price of $60/b, and the country’s fiscal breakeven price is $80/b, according to the International Monetary Fund. That compares with a front-month Brent crude price of $37.84 at the end of May.
The government made two exceptional payments to the country’s Public Investment Fund, its sovereign wealth fund, totaling $40 billion in March and April. They were made due to a noticeable decline in foreign exchange reserves, Although it was not disclosed how the PIF would deploy the capital, the returns of investments would be made available to support public finances when needed.The PIF, which is chaired by Saudi crown prince and de facto leader Mohammed bin Salman, has already deployed at least $8 billion on investments this year, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. They include stakes in Facebook, Boeing and oil and gas majors Shell, BP and Total. The transfer of public funds to the PIF comes as Saudi Arabia is implementing certain austerity measures, including tripling the value added tax to 15% and scrapping a cost of living allowance for public sector workers.
Additionally, the kingdom has embarked on gradually reopening its economy, including lifting a night-time curfew and allowing gatherings of 50 people that were imposed to keep the virus from spreading. The Saudi government still has measures in place to contain infections, according to a series of statements on the state-backed news service SPA. They include enforcing Riyals 1000 fines to people not wearing masks in public, temperature checks before entering shopping malls and the disinfection of carts and shopping baskets after each use.
The Saudi government last week announced that it intends to resume operations of all domestic flights and airports over a two-week period, beginning May 31. Preparations have been completed at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Riyadh. They include checking on airport visitors with thermal cameras, installing sterilizing devices for stairs, electric walkways with ultraviolet technology and floor stickers and waiting seats to urge social distancing while at the airport. Additionally, aircraft will be sterilized after each flight.


5. Corona impacts on the life and behaviour of the people. Does it will change the World socially and economically ?

Getting back to a pre-COVID-19 growth phase is likely to be a long and difficult task, at least until there is an effective health crisis exit strategy that involves a combination of a widely available vaccine and therapeutic drugs. In the intervening period, there are likely to be continued cutbacks in travel and in the hardest-hit industries, such as tourism and hospitality. Not all those who have been laid off will return to work, and businesses will likely use fewer employees in the future. The challenge to return to the ‘new normal’ is, therefore, as much a psychological as economic choice.
The timing and speed of the economic recovery, dependent as it is on solving the health crisis, is likely to exacerbate inequality, mental health problems, and lack of societal cohesion. It is also likely to widen the wealth gap between young and old, as well as pose significant educational and employment challenges for coming workforce in labor market.

The COVID-19 economic crisis has already hit poorer people and those in more socially disadvantaged groups harder. In many places, people are having to face the moral dilemma of choosing between going to work to generate income for bare necessities or staying at home to protect their health – and that of their family. Continued exposure to health risks faced by essential workers, who are often among the lowest paid, raises the concern of heightened death rates amongst this group. This highlights societal, income and health inequalities. We need to focus on addressing this inequality during the COVID-19 recovery and normalization process.
The economic and societal disruptions of the lockdowns are taking a toll on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. From a business perspective, companies generally cannot be successful in societies that are not functioning well. This is where stakeholder capitalism has a role to play. Businesses need to bring their skills and assets to help invest in a better society. We see this very clearly in financial inclusion, where we have to bring the best of all sectors – both public and private – to bear on these problems.

6. What challenges does an oil & natural gas industry face in the near future, during COVID 19 / post pandemic ?

One month after OPEC+ agreed to a historic production cut, and some three weeks since the price of oil tumbled into negative territory for the first time ever, global oil markets are still in murky waters as the coronavirus crisis continues.
“From the current picture [and] if nothing changes, I believe there may be a need for further efforts coming from OPEC in order to make 2020 a bit less worse than what we thought of in the beginning of this crisis. Demand will not jump from one day back to levels we had before the crisis, and we still have a huge amount of surplus, plus a lot of floating oil around the world, so therefore one needs to be very careful if one doesn’t want to change.
Many OPEC+ delegates are wait and watch to see additional data on the pandemic’s effects before considering further production cuts, and that no discussions on output strategies are underway ahead of the upcoming June 10 meeting to evaluate the market.
OPEC revised its forecast for oil demand to 16.8 million barrels per day this quarter and 24.3 million barrels a day for the year, according to a report yesterday. (On April 12, the organization and its allies agreed to reduce crude output by 9.7 million barrels per day in May and June, and 5.8 million barrels per day in 2021 through April 2022.) While the organization would need to practically halve its production to balance the market. Reports are coming that OPEC is unlikely to take such aggressive action. yet looks to be hoping for a recovery toward the end of this year that will bolster demand and consumption.

7. Describe a time when you were under pressure and how you dealt with ?

Although, I am never under pressure for anything that can change my life as I am more of a spiritual soul. For whom material things don’t affect much. However, the current crisis is unparalleled and it has thrown great challenge on us. Its more of a self- built pressure to not let this crisis effect any sort of job losses or any kind of negative impact on our products and services. Most of our portfolio companies are into Natural resources, Mining, Oil and Gas, Defense and security projects where we have seen not much impact except our oil and gas Vertical but we are more in trading Business so we are not that badly impacted with adequate precautionary measures in place. The biggest challenge today is to ensure our agriculture and fertilizer business don’t get effected due to Constraints of logistical support as most farmers depend upon such products and services. So, yeah this is the situation which is putting lot of pressure on us as there’s a lot of expectation from us by various Governments and several social groups. Our digital tech businesses have seen surge in demand so the challenge is more is to be able to service enhanced demand while not compromising on quality of product and services. At the end, where there’s will and rightful intent, there’s a way and array of possibility. Challenges and pressures usually bring best out of me, Alhamdulillah!

8. What do you think about recent decision on postponement of Dubai 2020 Expo to 2021. What’s your outlook on the same ?

Expo 2020 and other major international events due to take place this year have been cancelled or postponed as well. Last week, organisers of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics announced that the sporting event will be moved to next summer. The 73rd Cannes Film Festival and the 74th annual Tony Awards, which celebrates achievements in theatre, have also been postponed until further notice.
The coming Expo is set to showcase the talent, potential and creativity that the UAE and the Middle East have to offer to the world. But it will also bring the best that the rest of the world has to offer here to the region, making it an unprecedented opportunity in the Middle East to celebrate global collaboration and our shared humanity. Even with the proposed decision to postpone the event, none of that will change. At the same time, 2020, it is now widely accepted, will be a year of global flux. No one yet knows when the current pandemic will be fully brought under control, but even if this happens in short order, its impact on the world economy will surely last for a long time. Delaying the Expo, along with other major international events, will afford individual visitors, organisations and whole nations the time they need for physical and financial convalescence.
Mobility, sustainability and opportunity are the three core principles of the Expo.We would do well to use the extended timeframe leading up to the event to reflect further on what these principles mean to us. Mobility is not to be taken for granted; flights around the world are grounded and movement for a large percentage of the population suspended. Now is the time to cherish the privilege of living in an era when these constraints on our freedom to roam the planet and gather together are but temporary exceptions.
Sustainability is our means of ensuring our future; already the environmental impact of mass shutdowns is being seen in Asia, Europe and the Americas. How can we make some of those positive effects last even when our mobility continues again?
The world is currently in a time of undeniable crisis. But if we all work together to overcome it, therein lies the opportunity.
While we stay in, and stay safe, Expo 2021 will be an event to look forward to. It will be a symbol of rebirth and solidarity, to reconvene and celebrate the world’s successful recovery from this shared ordeal. Most of all, it will be a moment to reflect on the significance of this latest challenge, to appreciate how connected we all are and to celebrate our shared potential.


9. You are a into incubation & promoting young talent & ideas.Lots of youth looks upto you as role model.Any message to them to dealt with COVID19 situation now ?

“Conserve Cash as much as you can is my most important message”.


A nimble startup should have the capability to readjust to new realities and cut burn without losing its footing. A slowdown is a good opportunity to systematically peel the layers of the onion, examine each cost and identify the hidden costs, which while adding to the burn, are no longer creating value. This is the time to prune extraneous costs that seem like a nice to do or an investment way out into the future.

Customer acquisition spends should be under control. As demand dips, the efficiency of marketing goes down. So, a startup ends up burning a lot more money just to hold on to a certain position. When the burn is tapered off, the “customer relationships” propped up by the burn wither away and the business settles at a lower, more stable point.

In times of heightened uncertainty, it makes better sense to work on tighter time frames than longer ones for payback on your spends. Now is not the time to push for 100% growth rates at negative unit economics. Now is the time to fix the unit economics of the business.
It’s certainly not a time to sell stakes or buy new stakes in any of the businesses. There will be times for that. At the moment, conserve your cash and focus on core business.
Operations are almost half their capacity. I have seen businesses especially in restaurants and retail stores are headed for refurbishment and implementation of new technologies.
Strengthen your team as you’ll find talents at much attractive terms due to shortage of jobs in the market. Negotiate a better pay package but be fair to the talent as they may leave you once things improve. It’s also the time to focus on team building.

10. Describe a time when you had to use your creativity to influence someone ?

There’s no one off situation that I can tell you. You’ve to be creative and you’ve to apply your intuitive leadership abilities to churn out creative ideas which makes difference and makes you stand out from your competition. I always believe in YOU attitude. My core competency lies in the fact that I always look at business opportunities with YOU attitude. It means anticipate what your customer/partner or stakeholder is looking for from you and your company. What’s that they think you can deliver which no one can.
What’s your USP? Know your client (KYC) is important but “Know yourself” is equally important. The fact that your customers (both internal as well as external) have come to you, they have seen something in you. They expect something from you. You win if you can decode that and give them exactly that. If you give them what they want, they’ll give you what you want. Its simple. The success is usually blend of your creativity, intuition and anticipation.

11. Tell us a recent news article that interests you ?

There was an article about Emergence and need for impact investing in farm and agriculture sector which I read recently. It wasn’t a recently published but I read it just few days ago. it’s heartening to see more and more investors are moving towards impact investing or social entrepreneurship. There’s paradigm shift in investor perception. Young generation no more believes in Charity or “Profiteering”. They believe in businesses which impacts lives. Creates job opportunities for the lowest strata of society where opportunities are created for everyone. I myself moved towards social impact investing almost 5 years ago when no one would even want to consider it. I specifically focused on agriculture and allied activities as that’s where the real pain is. There’s lack of resources and technologies. We invested in modern farming technology using drones which maps lands for soil issue or plant disease while organic fertilizer has been one of the recent Acquisition. We also invested in processing unit so as to bring value addition to the Agri-produce while we invested in E-commerce platform which help create market access and value addition to farm sector. I have keen interest in this area which not only creates better opportunities in rural areas but also improve food quality as use of organic methods and raw materials can create highly sustainable agriculture and allied industry. I found this article the other day which exactly talked about the vision I had 5 years ago. It was really heartening to see how once a dream and a vision is now a reality of not just My own but many like-minded individual. I have copied the article below.

https://trilliuminvest.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Investing-in-Sustainable-Food-and-Agriculture.pdf

12. Who inspires you?

I am inspired by ultimate power which has created this world. The Allah (God) Almighty or whatever name you have for the Ultimate supreme power. The nature Allah has bestowed upon us. How silently its magic works around us. For instance, Just hold your breath one for some moment. You’ll soon gasp for breath. The almighty has taken care of this very air you breathe. He’s the Only One Who’s created all of us and who’s given everything around us that’s so important for our mere existence. All the things that enjoy and relish? Where does that come from? Everything else is abstract of its divine creativity.
More you evolve on the lines of appreciating Almighty God’s grace, the more you’ll feel sense of fulfillment. You’ll be Content and full of gratitude. You’ll find yourself in a very comfortable zone. You can be alone and yet be happier. Because you find yourself when you find God. You become your best friend. All your answers are within you. After all, you’re example of his (almighty) divinity.

13. What three words would your friends use to describe you ?

People who know me, find me Trustworthy, Knowledgeable, Faithful.

14. Social connects :

You can always follow me on
Linkedin: H.E. Mr. Zulfiquar Ghadiyali
Facebook: H.E. Zulfiquar Ghadiyali
Instagram: zulfi_insta
Twitter: zulfighadi2
Website: www.zulfiquarghadiyali.com.

 

Interviewed By : Sanjeev Jain, Editor In Chief , Fitnglam Magazine.

 

 

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