ON June 9, Al-Qabas newspaper had published an article about the richest person in modern history. He is the American billionaire, Jeffrey Preston Bezos, the founder, CEO, and President of the multinational technology company Amazon. His net wealth is estimated at $152.9 billion, of which he earned $25 billion since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis to date.
The reason behind such huge earnings is well known and clear. People in most parts of the world stayed indoors or rather spent almost all their time indoors, leading them to resort to online shopping through Amazon, the majority shares of which are owned by our brother in humanity but not in wealth – Bezos!
Given the fact that Bezos – from this moment until his death – will not spend even one-quarter of what he owns on himself and his family, this should serve as a clear message we send to those who seek to accumulate wealth by all means – legally and illegally – especially those who are involved in corruption and reap millions … Nonetheless, this is not our main topic for the day.
Our main topic is about the biggest gainers in light of this unprecedented socio-economic health crisis.
In this regard, the biggest gainers, who seem almost alone with such amazing and unprecedented financial gains, are our brothers who own shares in mobile telecommunication companies (May Almighty Allah protect them and increase their livelihood).
Majority of the population in Kuwait were trapped in their homes, chalets or farms in accordance with the decisions issued by our rational government. Irrespective of the age groups, all eyes were glued to their mobile phones along with their fingers.
This financial grace was not part of the strategic plan of these companies; it just came to them through this health crisis as an “unexpected” blessing from the sky, similar to how the $25 billion landed on the founder and CEO of the multinational technology company, Amazon, Jeff Bezos.
I would like to direct a quick word to the management and shareowners of mobile telecommunication companies. We see the government and the people of Kuwait spend millions for the sake of public good in various aspects in order to cushion the repercussions of this health crisis.
On the other hand, we do not see from you – the biggest gainers of the crisis – enough generosity to donate or reduce the financial liabilities of the public, considering what you are getting from millions of your customers, just like everyone in Kuwait did.
The losers in this crisis are mostly owners of economic and real estate interests and individuals due to either partial or full closure of their interests.
However, in my opinion, the biggest losers both inside and outside Kuwait are the airlines and travel agencies. This is because the transportation sector has been grounded almost completely, as we see many planes parked in the airports. Even the doors and locks of travel agencies have become rusted because they haven’t been opened for months.
Here we say to all the losers of this unprecedented crisis – After every difficulty, there is certainly relief. We pray for divine relief at the earliest.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil