As countries find ways to reboot economies and prepare for a post-Covid era, one thing increasingly looks certain – governments will have far bigger roles in business, economy, healthcare, education and other sectors.
It is not hard to imagine that in the coming years, governments would have to hold hands to guide various sectors devastated by the pandemic.
In the pre-Covid era, governments in many parts of the world had withdrawn itself, handing over a wide range of functions to private corporations and business groups and restricted themselves to policy-making, national security and strategic functions.
As Shaikh Mohammed rightly pointed out, a quick recovery is possible only when governments act with speed. We are in the middle of this crisis and there is no guarantee that a bigger, more devastating health crisis won’t hit us after we manage to overcome this one
The pandemic exposed the deficiencies in this model where public sector abdicated responsibilities and functions to the private.
For example, private healthcare providers, barring a few exceptions including the UAE, are missing from the frontlines. Public hospitals and doctors, despite poor infrastructure and inadequacies, are leading the pandemic war in developing countries.
On the other hand, rich countries with advanced private healthcare institutions suffer from high mortality rate. What went wrong here is to be analysed and a course correction applied.
Governments are forced to intervene and assume greater responsibilities as the pathogen swept through continents killing and crippling millions and ravaging systems in market-driven economies.
The governments of future will have to be more efficient, resilient and have a far bigger, deeper role in managing the nations. The UAE is beginning to grasp this reality early on. His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid, Vice-President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday said the government in post-Covid era must be lean, flexible and speedy.
Addressing a meeting of ministers and top officials from over 100 federal entities called to discuss the post-Covid recovery, he cautioned that that the world after the pandemic will not be the same as before. The key, he emphasised, is fast recovery from the crisis.
“Today our goal is not only to protect people’s health; rather, our goal is to protect the economy, protect the gains and protect a decent life,” he noted. Going forward ministries may be merged, changing the structure of the government.
As Shaikh Mohammed rightly pointed out, a quick recovery is possible only when governments act with speed. We are in the middle of this crisis and there is no guarantee that a bigger, more devastating health crisis won’t hit us after we manage to overcome this one.
The past 120 days or so gave us an opportunity to contemplate why we failed so miserably. What we do in the next 120 days will determine our survival as a human race.