Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama, has indicated that the 24-hour economy initiative will be a voluntary one that interested institutions can sign onto.
According to him, no institution will be compelled to participate. The former President made this known at an engagement with students of the St. Joseph’s College of Education at Bechem as the ‘Building Ghana Tour’ kicked off in the Ahafo Region.
“It is not by force. When we come, we’ll open it. The initiative is available, any company that wants to work a shift system and work more than the eight hours that they normally work from eight o’clock to five o’clock, they will sign on. We will give them tax incentives because if you work the extra shift, you will be given tax breaks. Aside from that, you’ll be provided with security and everything that you need to be able to employ more people,” he said.
Meanwhile, the former president assures that a team of experts is working to finalise the policy document.
Mr Mahama contends that this policy will address the pressing issue of Ghanaian youth embarking on perilous journeys across the Sahara and the Mediterranean in search of better opportunities in Europe.
On the other hand, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has criticised the policy, adding that Mr Mahama lacks an understanding of the policy he is promising to Ghanaians.
“I hear John Mahama has a new idea and he wants to run a 24-hour economy. I say where did he get this idea from? It is not a bright idea! A 24-hour economy cannot be legislated by the government,” Dr Bawumia said.
“Today, there are many businesses that are already working for 24 hours. Hospitals are open for 24 hours. You can buy electricity for 24 hours. Because of digitalisation, you can transfer money for 24 hours. There are many chop bars and restaurants that are open for 24 hours.”
However, some experts, including a senior political science lecturer at the University of Ghana (UG), Dr Asante, has expressed confidence that Ghanaian voters will be receptive to former President John Mahama’s 24-hour economy policy.
“I can tell you that this will really find favor with voters. Who really wants to put their energies to work, who wants to improve productivity? Who can ensure that the resources we have in this country are put to its utmost use? They will go for this policy I have no doubt in my mind,” Dr. Asante stated.