INTERVIEW WITH MUSTAFA KAMAR (ROBERTO BRAVO), ABOUT COVID-19
R How do you evaluate this period we live with Covid-19? The world is experiencing such a lockdown for the first time. Previously, we had a lot of crises both in the world and in Turkey, however, no one has ever had such a crisis. The whole world is in lockdown. Even worse, according to the articles, I have read so far, one of the two most affected industries is our industry. Tourism Hotel Management and Jewelry Industry are one of the sectors that experience or will suffer the most in all reports. It seems that it will take at least one year for the jewelry industry to have the previous activity. In addition, the increase of Gold prices to 400 liras due to the depreciation of the Turkish lira in the domestic market is another issue. For this reason, I hope that the market will open as of June 1, 2020. As of June 1, we will have a challenging process of about 7 months.
Production and international logistics stopped. How do you spend your time under these conditions? We have been at home for about 7 weeks. Production and exports are stopped. In this period, we focused primarily on the control of the numbers that will come out of our cash register and cash flow. We had to create conditions that would ensure the health status and salaries of our staff as in the old days. In addition, as you may know, we organize interviews and meetings entirely with conference callings. We are working on what we can do to prepare the company after the pandemic. We focus on recovering our deficiencies.
What estimates do you have about the jewelry industry after CV-19? How can this moment be transformed into an opportunity?
How is the forecasting done? Forecasting is done according to experiences. But the current pandemic is something we haven’t experienced before. We try to figure it out by simulating it to our experience. So forecasting is very difficult, but what people need to do right now is to focus on cash flow first. Then to follow the demand.
I think there will be big changes in the supply chain in all industries of the world. One of them is the jewelry industry. Big players around the world will no longer consider connecting their purchases to one place. They will try to diversify their supply chains in different countries and reduce risks. They will divide their budgets accordingly. We need to show that we are a strong supplier and a strong manufacturer like Turkey. Therefore, at this point, we should especially introduce the inward processing regime.
As the Exporters’ Association, we work for this. Currently, there will be Hong Kong and Italy fairs as the closest events. Then the Istanbul fair will be held. I think that Istanbul fair will have more advantages as it will take place in October. That is because I think it will take a while for the necessary conditions to be established, the trips to begin, and the people to gain the confidence to board the aircraft again. We are making our preparations accordingly.
Apart from that, we canceled the Miami and Saudi Arabia events we organized as the Exporters’ Association. However, we are preparing a new project on the digital platform. We are preparing a large portal with electronic catalogs of nearly 100 companies in the URGE project. We plan to launch it on June 1.