Friday, February 23

FAQs about Mahama’s 24-hour economic policy proposal

John Mahama

Q1: What is the 24-hour Economy all about?

The 24-hour Economy will be a deliberate policy intervention by the next NDC/Mahama government to encourage and support certain businesses and companies to operate 24/7, preferably in a three-shift system of 8 hours each, by creating an enabling environment that promotes productivity, competitiveness and well-paying jobs.

Q2: What will be the main driver of Mahama’s 24-hour Economy policy?

• The 24-hour Economy will be mainly anchored on Mahama’s overarching vision to create sustainable jobs for Ghanaians. This will be achieved through his agenda to: modernize and mechanize agriculture; provide incentives for the private sector to thrive; promote agro-processing and manufacturing; transform Ghana into an import substitution and export-led economy, among others.

Q3: Which industries will the 24-hour Economy focus on?

The 24-hour economy will primarily, but not exclusively, focus on:

1. 24-hour Agro-processing

2. 24-hour Pharmaceutical industry

3. 24-hour Manufacturing industry

4. 24-hour Construction

5. 24-hour Extractive industry (mining and quarrying)

6. 24-hour Sanitation and waste management

7. 24-hour Leisure and hospitality industry

8. 24-hour Digital start-ups and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

9. 24-hour Financial services10. 24-hour Retail centers.

10. 24-hour Transportation services

11. Also, selected public institutions with large customer traffic such as Ports and Harbors, Customs, Passport Office, DVLA, among others will be part of the 24-hour economy.

13. The 24-hour economy will also be implemented within the context of other national development initiatives, such as education and training, health services, agriculture, the provision of affordable housing for workers, efficient public transport, efficient justice delivery, among others. It is all part of an ambitious drive by the NDC/Mahama administration to take Ghana to the next level in the global economy.

Q4: What kind of support will be given to these businesses and companies by government in order for them to operate 24/7?

The next NDC/Mahama government will create an enabling environment for businesses and companies to operate 24/7 by:

I) Providing an atmosphere of improved security and public safety.

II) Providing cheaper and reliable electricity for participating businesses based on a Time Of Use (TOU) tariff system.

• A Time of Use (TOU) tariff is an electricity pricing structure where the price of electricity varies based on the time of day and day of the week power is consumed.

• Companies that sign unto the 24-hour economy policy will be given modern smart meters which will be calibrated to charge a lesser tariff (per KW/h) for power consumed during off-peak hours.

III) Tax Incentives: companies/businesses that subscribe to the 24-hour Economy policy will be given tax incentives to reduce the cost of their operations and enhance their competitiveness.

IV) Financing support will be provided for certain strategic agro-processing factories and manufacturing companies to boost production for import substitution and exports.

Q5: What will be the implementation approach of the 24-hour economy policy?

• The next NDC/Mahama government will publish the strategic blueprint for the implementation of the 24-hour economy policy upon assuming office.

• Businesses and companies that wish to take advantage of the incentive packages under the policy, will be required to voluntarily sign onto the 24-hour economy policy.

• Companies that are already running 24/7 will automatically be captured under the policy and provided with the necessary incentives.

• A new Employment Act, which will among other things, set out the regulatory framework for the 24-hour economy, will be passed in consultation with organized Labour, AGI and other relevant stakeholders. The Act will complement the existing Labour Act.

Q6: What will the next NDC/Mahama government do to enhance efficiency and productivity in the already existing 8-hour work system in Public Institutions?

We shall consciously promote discipline and efficiency in the already existing 8-hour work schedule in public institutions and in new additional work shifts by introducing appropriate measures to root out practices that militate against efficiency and productivity in the public sector.

Q7: Are there any countries or cities currently implementing a 24-hour economy policy or strategy?

Yes.  All the major and most prosperous economies in the world operate various degrees of 24-hour economies.  They include the United States, where nearly 30% of the labour force work at night; the United Kingdom (19%); Germany (12%) and France (7%). In Africa, Kenya is contemplating a 24-hour economy. The city of Sydney, the capital of New South Wales in Australia is currently implementing a 24-hour economy policy strategy, just to mention a few. Our 24-hour economy policy will be tailored and implemented to suit Ghana’s economic context.

Q8: Some critics say that since the 24-hour Economy cannot be legislated, it is a bad idea. Are they right?

No, they are totally wrong.

• As a development strategy, it does not have to be legislated.  However, it will be supported by a strategy document, including a policy framework, which will be produced after the launch of the NDC’s 2024 manifesto.

• The document will be closely aligned with the party’s manifesto and the Coordinated Programme for Social and Economic Development Policies, which every President is required by the Constitution to present to Parliament within two years of assuming office.

• On the basis of the policy framework, different types of legislation, such as a new Employment Act (first of its kind) as well as laws to strengthen Ghana’s import substitution and export drive, employee rights and consumer welfare, will be enacted to support the strategy.

• It is worthy of note, that save tax measures, the essential services economy and certain regulations, economic policies are generally not legislated. However, once an enabling environment is created by government, businesses/individuals who aspire to be productive, competitive and profitable ultimately take advantage of such policies.

• For example, digitalization is not legislated as a matter of compulsion in and of itself. However, businesses which require digital platforms to be productive and profitable, do take advantage of such digital platforms once they are introduced by government.

•  In much the same vein, a 24-hour economy will not be imposed on businesses. However, businesses who are being targeted by the 24-hour economy policy, will in no doubt sign unto the program in order to take advantage of the attractive incentives under the policy so as to reduce cost and enhance their competiveness. This is what happens in all advance countries running 24-hour economies.

Q9: Some critics say that some businesses or companies already operate 24/7, hence the policy is not new. Are they right?

No, they are terribly wrong.

• Currently, Ghana does not have any deliberate policy that supports or incentivizes businesses or companies to operate 24/7.

• The 24-hour economy strategy will be the first government policy intervention that will provide tax incentives, cheaper and reliable power and in some cases, financing support for businesses that operate 24/7 in Ghana. This is what makes the policy a novelty.

• The fact that few companies currently operate 24/7 in Ghana does not mean that the 24-hour Economy is already being implemented. This is because such companies operate on their own without any support whatsoever from government.

• More importantly, the fact that few companies currently operate 24/7 in the country goes to show that the 24-hour Economy is possible, has a huge potential and can create more sustainable jobs if properly supported by a deliberate government Policy intervention.

Q10: Some critics say THAT a 24-hour Economy can only be possible where there is demand and that Ghana’s Economic context is incompatible with a 24-hour Economy because of low demand. Are they right?

No, they are wrong.

• As has already been explained, the 24-hour Economy will be mainly anchored on John Mahama’s overarching vision of creating sustainable jobs through the transformation of Ghana into an import substitution and export-led economy among others.

• Currently, over 90% of the things we consume in Ghana (food, beverages, fabrics, pharmaceuticals etc.) are imported. Demand for these basic commodities already exist.

• Ghana has the capacity to produce most of these basic items for import substitution and exports if the right enabling environment is created by government.

• The problem however, has been the high cost of doing business in the country and the over liberalisation of the Ghanaian economy, which makes Ghanaian businesses uncompetitive due to competition with cheaper and subsidized imports.

• The incentive packages under the 24-hour economy policy will significantly reduce the cost of doing business and enable businesses to operate round-the-clock with an enhanced competitive edge. If locally produced goods can be supplied at a comparative cost to their imported counterparts, they will be absorbed by local demand.

• Also, there is high demand for better and more efficient public services from certain public institutions. Under the 24-hour economy, these institutions will operate round-the-clock, and improve customer service and productivity.

• The incentive packages will scale up production, enhance productivity and competitiveness, propel economic growth and lead to more decent and well-paying jobs.

Q11: Can John Mahama be trusted to deliver on his 24-hour economy promise?

Absolutely yes.

John Mahama is a visionary leader and a Nation-Builder. His track record as President bears this fact out. Ghana saw many transformational investments and developments in all sectors of the country under his tenure as President, some of which operate 24/7 as we speak. They include:

• The construction of the Meridian Port Services (MPS) terminal, which has made the Tema Port the second largest port in the whole of West Africa. Today, the MPS terminal operates 24/7. This allows round the clock clearance of goods from the port.

• The Accra Digital Centre, which is the biggest Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) centre in the country with the capacity of hosting over 20,000 direct digital and ancillary jobs if operated 24/7.

• The $3 billion private sector-led investment in ICT announced by John Mahama will open new Data Analytics, Cyber Security, Artificial Intelligence, Data Governance, Data Protection and Innovative job opportunities throughout the country. These fields of ICT will run 24-hours through collaborations from the Americans (-6/8 hour behind Ghana) to Europe (same time zone) and the Far East (+6/8 hours ahead of Ghana).

• The Ghana Gas Company established by the Mills/Mahama NDC government also operates 24/7 and has provided many Ghanaians with sustainable jobs.

• Terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport also operates 24/7. Just to mention a few.

Q12: When will the details of Mahama’s 24-hour economy policy be made public?

The strategic blueprint for the 24-hour economy policy will be put out after the 2024 manifesto launch of the NDC.

CONCLUSION

• The 24-hour economy policy of H.E John Dramani Mahama (the Nation Builder) is the most revolutionary solution to the critical problem of high unemployment confronting Ghanaians, especially the youth.

• The 24-hour economy is not an end in itself.  It is the centrepiece of a wider agenda of modernization, industrialization, and transformation of the Ghanaian economy for the creation of sustainable jobs across the country. The policy will positively impact the SME sector and expand the essential service economy. No one will be left behind.

• The incentive packages under the 24-hour economy policy will significantly reduce the cost of doing business, enhance productivity and give participating businesses a competitive edge to scale up production. This will lead to the creation of more well-paying jobs for the teeming unemployed youth.

• The policy is laudable and doable. This is why key stakeholders like the Trades Union Congress (TUC) have already endorsed the strategy, describing it as a Game-Changer. The Federation of Labour, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Chamber of Local Governance, among others, have all endorsed the policy.

• The 24-hour Economy being proposed by H.E John Mahama is for jobs, jobs and more jobs. To render it simply, “Adwuma no, Kofi bɛyɛ bi, na Salifu nso ayɛ bi, na Enyonam ayɛ bi na Kotey nso ayɛ nea aka no”. 24-HOUR ECONOMY; “EDWUMA PA NKOAAA”!!!!!!!

Source: myjoyonline.com