May 27, 2024

The leader of the largest opposition NDC, ex-president John Dramani Mahama, has proposed that the next NDC government under him would encourage and support certain businesses and companies to operate 24 hours a day.

According to him, the policy would ensure that the companies would run a three-shift system of 8 hours each by creating an enabling environment that would promote productivity, competitiveness and well-paying jobs.

Mr. Mahama’s proposed policy has been given a rapturous welcome by many Ghanaians, whilst it has already received the blessings of key stakeholders like the Trades Union Congress (TUC), among others.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC), for instance, critically endorsed the strategy and described it as a game-changer that would be expected to turn the dwindling economy of the country around.

The Federation of Labour, the Institute of Economic Affairs and the Chamber of Local Governance, among others, have all endorsed the policy, which would be a deliberate policy intervention.

The National Communication Bureau of the NDC has responded to some frequently asked questions about the proposed policy and provided explanations in a move to address concerns raised.

According to the bureau, the 24-hour Economy would be mainly anchored on Mr. Mahama’s overarching vision to create sustainable jobs for Ghanaians, through his agenda to modernise and mechanise agriculture.

The policy would additionally provide incentives for the private sector to thrive and promote agro-processing and manufacturing to transform Ghana into an import-substitution and export-led economy, among others.

The 24-hour economy policy would be expected to be a major boost for John Mahama’s import substitution and export drive, which would stabilise the national currency, improve our reserves, bring down inflation and interest rates, create more employment opportunities and improve livelihoods.

Industries 

According to the bureau, the 24-hour economy would primarily, but not exclusively, focus on 24-hour agro-processing, 24-hour pharmaceutical industry, 24-hour manufacturing industry, 24-hour construction and 24-hour extractive industry (mining and quarrying).

Others would include 24-hour sanitation and waste management, 24-hour leisure and hospitality industries, 24-hour digital start-ups and business process outsourcing (BPO), 24-hour financial services and 24-hour retail centres.

It would also consider 24-hour transportation services, while selected public institutions with large customer traffic, such as ports and harbours, customs, passport offices and DVLA, among others, will be part of the 24-hour economy.

The policy would also be implemented within the context of other national development initiatives, such as education and training, health services, agriculture and the provision of affordable housing for workers.

Support

As part of Mr. Mahama’s vision and the ambitious drive that would be expected to take Ghana to the next level in the global economy, the government would create an enabling environment for businesses and companies to operate 24/7, providing an atmosphere of improved security and public safety.

The government will also provide cheaper and more 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 would sign to the 24-hour economy policy would be given modern smart meters that would be calibrated to charge a lesser tariff (per KW/h) for power consumed during off-peak hours.

Tax Incentives

Companies and businesses that subscribe to the 24-hour economy policy would be given tax incentives to reduce the cost of their operations and enhance their competitiveness.

Financial support would be provided for certain strategic agro-processing factories and manufacturing companies to boost production for import substitution and exports.

Implementation approach

The next NDC/Mahama government would 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 would be required to voluntarily sign up for the 24-hour economy policy.

Companies that are already running 24/7 would 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 organised labour, AGI, and other relevant stakeholders. The Act will complement the existing Labour Act.

Enhance efficiency and productivity 

The policy would 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.

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