A brief report on H.E. President John Dramani Mahama’s proposal of a 24-hour economy in Ghana

FOR EDUCATION OF LEADERS AND COMMUNICATORS OF THE NPP WHO CANNOT FATHOM WHAT THE 24HOUR ECONOMY POLICY IS ALL ABOUT AFTER LOOTING TO COLLAPSE THE ECONOMY AND CENTRAL BANK OF GHANA

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Ladies and gentlemen, the 24-hour economy may have finally resonated with Ghanaians. It may be classified as an idea whose time has come due to Ghana’s self-inflicted economic crisis today because the 24-hour economy initiative was well-thought-through and captured on page 105 of the NDC’s 2020 People’s Manifesto.

Indeed, its roots emanate from the 40-year National Development Plan the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) put together when I was President. Unfortunately, the present government discarded the 40-year plan and replaced it with a Ghana Beyond Aid plan that has turned Ghana into a beggar nation.

Stripped to the essentials, ladies and gentlemen, the 24-hour policy will be anchored as an economy that runs around the clock with a three-shift work schedule in many sectors. The intent is to transform Ghana into, first, a self-sufficient and then an export-led economy.

To be clear, we are not creating a command economy with centralized planning. That would be at variance with the Social Democratic ideology of the NDC.

SPECIFICALLY:

We will combine government support and private sector involvement to realise the 24-hour economy. We will establish a comprehensive policy framework that supports the growth of a 24-hour economy. Legislation will be introduced to support businesses operating 24/7, including labour laws, tax incentives, and regulations that ensure workers’ rights and protection. Favourable tax policies will be adopted so that businesses can reduce their operational cost and stay competitive.

Companies that sign up for the 24-hour economy policy will enjoy smart metering calibrated to charge a lesser tariff (per KW/h) for power consumed during off-peak hours at night based on a Time of Use (ToU) tariff system. Financing support will be provided for certain strategic agro-processing firms and manufacturing companies to boost production for value addition, self-sufficiency, and increased exports.

Knowing that the government is the biggest spender in the economy, we shall boost demand by ensuring that all government ministries, agencies, assemblies, and state-owned enterprises buy made-in-Ghana goods and procure the services of Ghana-based firms where available. We will address safety and security measures to ensure smooth operations across all sectors during extended hours.

We will see the availability of the necessary infrastructure, such as transportation networks, public amenities, and security systems, including a well-regulated and monitored private security architecture to facilitate round-the-clock activities. Technology and digital infrastructure investment would also be prioritised to enable automation and seamless operations. We cannot have a successful 24-hour economy without an aggressive expansion in our exports.

I will, therefore, personally chair an Accelerated Exports Development Council (AEDC), which will meet quarterly to review initiatives for expanding Ghana’s exports under the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

There will be extensive consultation and collaboration with various stakeholders, including CEOs, businesses and workers’ unions. Businesses will be encouraged to empower the workforce with the necessary skills and training to thrive in a 24-hour economy, focusing on the most impacted sectors.

Sanitation, cleaning services, garbage collection and environmental protection will also form a significant part of the 24-hour economy. Financial services at the port, shipping agents, and customs will be enabled to work additional shifts at night and at weekends to allow for the 24/7 clearing of goods at our ports. This will help reduce demurrage charges on importers and reduce congestion at our ports.

My brothers and sisters, there will be no limit to the sectors the 24-hour economy initiative will target. And the benefits will be enormous. Through the 24-hour economy, we will create new, decent, and well-paying jobs for the youth, reduce unemployment, which is a significant challenge, and improve the living standards of Ghanaians.

Also, the expanded range of operating or working hours will increase productivity and fully utilise all resources, including infrastructure. The 24-hour economy will provide greater flexibility and convenience for workers and allow citizens to access goods and services anytime.

We will improve infrastructure, lighting, and security at entertainment districts such as the Osu Oxford Street, Abeka LaPaz, East Legon Lagos Avenue, etc., to allow operations throughout the night – Consider hospitality, transportation, and security, including a well regulated and monitored private security establishment. These will enhance the consumer experience and create a thriving and dynamic economy.

Let me add that the 24-hour economy will also attract foreign direct investment to stimulate the local economy and create more employment opportunities for Ghanaians.

We would wage a strong fight against corruption to reduce waste and save money for reinvestment in the economy. The sword of the fight against corruption will cut both ways – against past government officials, officials of the incumbent administration, civil and public servants, businesses, government suppliers, etc.— if they fall foul of the law.

We would review our laws governing the extractive industry so that Ghana can increase its share and local participation in exploiting our natural resources.

I believe that with improved revenues from the savings made from a reduced size of government, the anti corruption fight, fast-tracked operationalisation of new oil and gas wells, increased investment in the mining sector and a revamped cocoa sector, we can ease the heavy burden of tax that has been placed on Ghanaian households and businesses.

Ladies and gentlemen, we in the NDC have never claimed to be repositories of all knowledge, and so we look forward to the mutual sharing of ideas and insights with you as we have done here tonight. We need to network more, and I look forward to another opportunity where I can sit and interact, take your questions, share more thoughts, and imbibe your suggestions to tackle our collective problems.

When entrusted with the governance of this country and the management of the economy, I pledge on behalf of the NDC to stay the course of prudence to maintain stability and predictability in the economy.

Incidentally, today is December 7, and a year today, we would have begun counting and tallying the results of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections. By this time, Ghana will be preparing for the results of a decisive election for CHANGE. We are confident that the survival of businesses like yours depends on a stable macroeconomic environment. It will also depend on the need for change next year.

I remain optimistic about the Mahama 24-hour economy initiative.

In a rapidly advancing global economy, in which countries worldwide are gradually drifting and adopting 24-hour economies to remain competitive and attract investments – Ghana cannot be left out.

With increasing urbanisation, where many previously rural communities are becoming urbanised with its associated higher demand for goods, including food, beverages, and services around the clock – Ghana cannot be left out.

With an expanding services sector in which healthcare, tourism, entertainment, Business Processing Outsourcing and Call Centres have the potential to operate optimally and continuously – Ghana cannot be left out.

With technological advancements enabling communication, coordination, and transactions at any time, making it easier for businesses to operate 24 hours, seven days a week – Ghana cannot be left out.

Finally, my dear CEOs, let me assure you that we shall pursue initiatives that allow the private sector to flourish consistently and visibly and in a way that improves upward socio-economic mobility and social justice.

My commitment is to stop the excessive and direct competition between the government, its agencies, and cronies with private businesses through dubious restriction mechanisms and aggressive business regulation.

The 24-hour economy is a game-changer for the Ghanaian economy. It will benefit your businesses, employment and the enjoyment of the youth who are seeking jobs.

We shall vigorously pursue the 24-hour economy, amongst many other initiatives, as part of our broader vision and determination to increase economic growth, create jobs, and improve the quality of life of Ghanaians.

We shall work with you to build the Ghana we want together.

Thank you,

Let us start understanding this so we can communicate it down well to the people. It seems many of our NPP Communicators are confused about this.