Stakeholders dialogue on the 24-hour policy proposal by John Mahama

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Former President Mahama and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have put forth a significant policy proposal known as the 24-hour economy aims at transforming Ghana’s economic landscape by encouraging round-the-clock economic activity, ultimately fostering growth and creating more employment opportunities for the Ghanaian people.

The 24-hour economy policy proposal is centered on the notion that economic activity should not be restricted to conventional working hours, but extending business hours and encouraging establishments to operate outside the usual time frame, this policy seeks to boost productivity, increase revenue, and improve the overall economic performance of the country.

One of the primary benefits of the 24-hour economy policy, is the potential for job creation by allowing businesses to operate beyond regular hours, it opens up new employment opportunities and reduces unemployment rates. This approach can particularly benefit sectors such as hospitality, healthcare, entertainment, and transportation, which have the potential to prosper in a 24-hour economy.

Additionally, a 24-hour economy has the potential to improve the overall quality of life for citizens and can accommodate the diverse needs of the population, including those who work non-traditional hours or have unconventional work schedules. This flexibility allows individuals to access necessary services at their convenience and enhances work-life balance for those in professions requiring night shifts.

To this end, Upsilon PI Delta Institute (UPDI) a civil society organisation based in Accra, with representatives across Ghana that seeks to contribute to the national development discourse and debates in collaboration with the University of Media, Arts and Communication (UniMAC) has organised a Policy Dialogue Series in Accra.

The Policy Dialogue Series brought together academicians, businessmen and other stakeholders together sought to share perspectives, find common ground and reach agreement or consensus and policy solution. It was under the theme; “Unlocking Economic Prosperity Through a 24-Hour Economy”.

In his remarks, a Senior Lecturer of the University of Ghana Business School, Lord Mensah, lauded the 24-hour economy idea proposed by Former President Mahama which according to him the policy if implemented effectively will be beneficial in reducing unemployment rate in the country.

He emphasized the importance of viewing the 24-hour economy policy as part of a comprehensive approach rather than an isolated measure explaining that in order to ensure its success, there should be a complementary fiscal policy in place alongside it.

According to the Lecturer, the government must ensure strong fiscal policies to tame unnecessary expenditure that would derail the policy adding that the prevailing fiscal condition in the country is not sustainable for any serious 24 hour economic strategy.

Mr  Mensah stress that for former President Mahama and the NDC to be successful, he first has to strengthen the country’s fiscal structure before proceeding on such an ambitious trajectory.

Professor Festus Ebo Turkson, a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economics at the University of Ghana, called on the leadership responsible for the implementation of the 24-hour economy policy to extend their support to the domestic front while simultaneously working towards reducing the overall cost of doing business.

He emphasized the significance of providing assistance to entrepreneurs in order to effectively establish and sustain the 24-hour economy model, which involves the seamless execution of three shifts per day adding that; by aiding entrepreneurs, the policy not only stands a better chance of success but also ensures more employment opportunities and increased economic growth.

Moreover, Professor Turkson underlined the importance of deploying essential security measures and improving existing infrastructure to facilitate the smooth operation of the policy and underscored the need for collaboration between the policy’s leadership and important industry players such as the Ghana Health Service, transport networks, and retail networks. This collaboration is crucial in garnering the necessary support and resources for the implementation of the 24-hour economy policy.

He pointed out that without the collective support and cooperation of these key industry stakeholders, the policy may encounter significant challenges, potentially hindering its successful execution. Hence, he strongly urged the policy’s leadership to actively engage and gain the backing of crucial industry players, as their support is vital for the policy’s effective implementation.

On his part, the Executive Director of Centre for International Maritime Affairs Ghana, Andres Derrick Fiatui, noted that the Maritime industry is highly enthusiastic about the proposed 24-hour economy policy and believes that this initiative presents a challenge to our country, prompting us to strive for parity with other successful models.

He stated that numerous countries have already implemented similar policies, and they serve as role models especially for those in the maritime industry adding that; a significant proportion of employees already operate within a 24-hour economy framework, despite the absence of a national programme supporting it.

Mr Fiatui further stressed that is crucial to view this policy as primarily an economic measure rather than a political one saying that by recognizing its economic significance and treating it seriously, our nation will witness substantial transformations and increased productivity.

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