Sidik Abubakar, a Policy and Natural Resource Governance Advocate, has described the new policy proposed by the NDC’s flagbearer John Dramani Mahama, as a good one and a game changer.
According to him, the move is an excellent one that is going to help transform the nation by employing more people and generating abundant revenue.
He said, that given the rising state of joblessness in Ghana today, it requires a more pragmatic and solution-oriented policy to ameliorate the canker of unemployment facing the nation.
He is therefore urging all Ghanaians to embrace the policy instead of backlashing the NDC leader.
Read his full statement below;
THE 24-HOUR ECONOMY (THE GAME CHANGER)
The total number of people employed in Ghana is estimated to be approximately 14.3 million. Comprising both formal and informal sector workers.
The government sector alone employs about 688,000 people every year. Costing the government about 2.3 billion cedis based on December 2022 earnings.
Despite these, there is a whopping backlog of working-age groups that are employed.
About 67% of the working age group in Ghana were unemployed, and the youth constitute the majority.
According to the Ghana Statistical Service, 86.7% of Ghanaians borrow from family and friends to survive.
Given the rising state of joblessness in Ghana today under the current government’s rule, Ghana requires a more pragmatic and solution-oriented policy to ameliorate this canker of unemployment facing the nation.
What is a 24-hour economy?
The 24-hour economy is an economic policy that intends to enable all economic activities to evolve limitlessly and boundlessly to ensure the effective and efficient provision of formal and informal services.
The 24-hour economy would ensure that banks, hotels, pharmacies, hospitals, markets, and traders would have the opportunity to work all 24 hours continuously from mornings, evenings, and nights without the need to close from work.
What are the benefits of the 24-hour economy?
The 24-hour economy would provide enormous benefits; for instance, it would aid the ailing unemployment crisis, provide efficient and effective service, and increase both government revenues and the revenues of individual businesses in Ghana.
According to the data, the total number of people employed in Ghana is 14.3 million (formal and informal). In 2022, the government employed approximately 688,000 people for 2.3 billion in salary payments for the year.
The current employment structure in Ghana allows for only day work in most sectors, from 6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
1. Employment creation and skill training
The 24-hour economy would provide mornings, evenings, nights, weekend work, split shifts, irregular hours, and rotating shifts). This would make the economy susceptible to absorbing all excess unemployed people by potentially increasing the spate of employment creation from 688,000 to 2,064,000 million, costing the government about 6.9 billion Ghana cedis.
This succinctly would be feasible under the 24-hour economic policy, which would go a long way towards resolving the unemployment canker bedevilling Ghana.
The employment creation by the 24-hour economy would mean that the government must provide all the necessary professional, technical and vocational skills and entrepreneurship training for the workforce to meet the job demand or to start their own business.
2. Incentives for local businesses
The 24-hour economy would mean that the government must provide grants and other supports to cushion both large and small local businesses and also encourage the youth to take advantage of the economic opportunities by engaging in entrepreneurship to enable them to achieve the ‘Ghanaian dream’ they desire.
3. Increase in revenue generation
More extended service provision, thus from morning to night, means an increased revenue base as buying and selling continues unabated. Businesses will thrive all day to operate and accrue lots of revenue for individual companies and the government.
This can provide a healthy and attractive market economy for prospective businesses, both local and international.
4. The 24-hour economy would lease to Infrastructure Development
Running a 24-hour economy demands that all facilities and infrastructure be deemed sufficient for effective and efficient service provision to be achieved.
Therefore, infrastructure, such as hospitals, markets, roads, and factories must be built.
5. 24-hours provision of service.
The 24-hour economy connotes that all service providers in the economy must run efficiently and effectively throughout the 24 hours in a day (mornings, evenings, nights, weekend work, split shifts, irregular hours, and rotating shifts).
This can lead to the provision of essential services by pharmacies, restaurants, transportation, entertainment, etc in times of urgent need.
6. Flexible work schedule
The 24-hour economy would provide employees with the opportunity to choose the work schedule that would suit their lifestyle and to have the opportunity to engage in other family and social activities at any time they desire. (mornings, evenings, nights, weekend work, split shifts, irregular hours, and rotating shifts).
As against the current state of the work schedule, which restricts employees from having specific social engagements.
7. Strong and effective security
The 24-hour economy demands that all businesses work throughout the day which necessitates efficient security for the protection of business.
This, however, is a very important factor in determining the success of the 24- economic policy.
LESSONS DRAWN FROM COUNTRIES THRIVING UNDER THE 24-HOUR ECONOMY (USA, South Korea).
The 24-hour economy in developed countries has enormous opportunities for other underdeveloped nations to emulate to ensure economic success and employment creation.
For instance, in the USA and South Korea, the 24-hour economy has provided a chunk of the working-age population with the opportunity to acquire well-paid, meaningful jobs and increased the government’s and individual businesses’ revenue base.
The 24-hour economy has offered these nations the potential for continuous business operations, enhanced economic growth, and increased job opportunities.
And it has also improved services, such as around-the-clock healthcare and online transactions, and contributed to global competitiveness.
The 24-hour economy has the tendency to ameliorate the pain of the ordinary Ghanaian and to salvage the wallowing Ghanaian economy by providing well-meaning employment, effective and efficient 24-hour service supply, infrastructure development, a conducive and healthy business environment, a flexible job schedule, and increasing revenue for both individual businesses and the government.
Developing a 24-hour economy in Ghana is feasible and sustainable for the growth of our country.
One way of nurturing this bright policy is to bring the district leaders to share best practices and develop innovative ways to make the most of the night through 24-hour District network initiatives.
The district leaders would be made to formulate policies to ensure nighttime establishments are nurtured so that they can keep thriving and bringing prosperity to residents day and night.
– Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), (2023). GHANA 2022 EARNINGS INEQUALITY IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR. https://statsghana.gov.gh/gssmain/fileUpload/pressrelease/Earnings%20Inequality%20Report%2014-02-2023.pdf
– Statista, (2023). Empowering people with data. https://www.statista.com/statistics/1287532/number-of-people-unemployed-in-ghana/
– The conversion, (2023). Our 24/7 economy and the wealth of nations. http://theconversation.com
Source: Nana Peprah, Contributor