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The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has explained in detail its 24-hour policy intervention to be implemented when given the mandate to run the affairs of the country.
Describing the 24-hour economy as a deliberate policy intervention by the next NDC/Mahama government, the party said the intervention would 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.
The policy, the party said, was mainly anchored on Mahama’s overarching vision to create sustainable jobs for Ghanaians.
This would be achieved through former President John Dramani Mahama’s agenda to, among others, modernise and mechanise 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.
It would also stabilise our national currency, improve our reserves, bring down inflation and interest rates, create more employment opportunities and improve livelihoods while boosting import substitution and export drive.
The party said the 24-hour economy would focus on industries including agro-processing, the pharmaceutical industry, manufacturing industry, construction, extractive industry, sanitation and waste management, leisure and hospital, transportation among others.
“Selected public institutions with large customer traffic such as Ports and Harbours, Customs, Passport Office, DVLA, among others will be part of the 24-hour economy.”
“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,” the party said in a 14-page report.
On the support to be given to the companies to operate the 24-hour economy, the party said the next NDC government would provide an atmosphere of improved security and public safety; provide cheaper and reliable electricity for participating businesses based on a Time Of Use (TOU) tariff system; tax incentive to companies/businesses that subscribe to the 24-hour economy policy to reduce the cost of their operations and enhance their competitiveness, and financial support to certain strategic agro-processing factories and manufacturing companies to boost production for import substitution and exports.
On the approach to use, the party said a new Employment Act which would, among other things, set out the regulatory framework for the 24-hour economy, would be passed in consultation with organised Labour, AGI and other relevant stakeholders.
The Act would complement the existing Labour Act.
It added that businesses and companies that wished to take advantage of the incentive packages under the policy would be required to voluntarily sign onto the 24-hour economy policy, adding: “Companies that are already running 24/7 will automatically be captured under the policy and provided with the necessary incentives”.
To enhance efficiency and productivity in the already existing eight-hour work system in public institutions, the party said it would consciously promote discipline and efficiency in the 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.
The party noted that the fact that few companies currently operate 24/7 in the country did not mean that the 24-hour economy was already being implemented, saying this is because such companies operate on their own without any support whatsoever from government.
“Currently, Ghana does not have any deliberate policy that supports or incentivises businesses or companies to operate 24/7.”
SOURCE: GRAPHIC ONLINE