Let’s settle the debate; 24 hour economy is demand driven not a deliberate policy.

In the last few weeks I have observed with concern how many big wigs of the largest opposition party the National Democratic Congress have struggled defending the Policy proposal of their perpetual flag-bearer candidate John Dramani Mahama. I have seen videos of great orators like Hon. Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, Felix Kwakye Fosu and others struggle on national television and radio to speak to this promise.

I know in election year candidates try as much as possible to get a flagship program to run with, their last attempt was in 2020 was with the OKADA promise. Our friends on the other side should admit Candidate Mahama’s 24-hour econmy promise was not thought through well the reason they are struggling to explain or even defend their position. It has also become a very emotional matter if you ask them to explain it.

I saw a Facebook post of Kafui Dey on 26th of February 20224 which read “NDC. Members and sympathisers only. Abeg, breakdown the 24-Hour policy for me” at the last check the post has recorded over 1600 comments with a significant number of the comments insulting him and casting slur on his professional acumen.

Lets settle this matter once and for all, 24-hour economy is primarily demand-driven due to several key factors that reflect the changing needs and behaviors of society, businesses, and the global market. Here’s why:

Globalization: The interconnectedness of global markets means that businesses often operate across different time zones. There’s a continuous demand for real-time interactions, transactions, and services, making a 24-hour operational model not just beneficial but necessary for competitiveness.

Consumer Expectations: Advances in technology, especially the internet and mobile devices, have led to consumers expecting services and products to be available around the clock. Whether it’s online shopping, customer service, or digital content, consumers demand instant access, driving businesses to adapt to a 24-hour operating schedule.

Shift in Work Patterns: The traditional 9-to-5 workday is no longer the norm for a significant portion of the workforce. With the rise of remote work, flexible hours, and the gig economy, people are working at all hours, contributing to and demanding services that cater to their nonstandard schedules (Presser, 1999).

Technological Advancements: Technology has enabled businesses to operate efficiently outside traditional hours. Automation, AI, and digital platforms allow for 24/7 production and customer service without significantly increasing costs. This technological capability meets the demand for constant access and fast turnarounds.

Economic Efficiency: Operating on a 24-hour basis can improve the utilization of assets and resources. For industries like manufacturing, transportation, and IT, extending operational hours can lead to better efficiency and productivity, driven by the need to maximize output and minimize downtime.

Societal Changes: There has been a cultural shift towards a more nocturnal lifestyle in many urban centers, with people seeking leisure and entertainment options at all hours a typical example is the daily routine in Osu, pubs, clubs casinos operate 7 days a week and at night. This demand for nighttime activities supports and sustains various sectors of the night-time economy, from hospitality to entertainment (Roberts & Turner, 2005).

Health and Safety Services: Essential services such as healthcare, emergency services, and utilities must operate 24/7 to meet societal needs. The demand for continuous access to these critical services underpins the need for a 24-hour economy in these sectors.

In essence, the 24-hour economy is driven by a complex interplay of consumer demand, technological capabilities, global market pressures, and societal shifts towards round-the-clock activity. This demand-driven model responds to the modern world’s requirements for flexibility, immediacy, and continuous service, necessitating adaptations across all sectors of the economy.

The concept of a 24-hour economy is demand-driven rather than solely a result of deliberate government policy and this can be illustrated through examples of events and developments in Ghana. Ghana, like many countries, has seen shifts towards a 24-hour economy in various sectors, driven by consumer demand, technological advancements, and globalization. Here are examples reflecting this trend:

Telecommunications and IT Services: In Ghana, the demand for constant internet access and telecommunications services has grown exponentially. Companies like MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana, and AirtelTigo offer 24/7 customer service to meet consumer demands for uninterrupted connectivity and support. This sector’s move towards round-the-clock operations is primarily demand-driven, as businesses and individuals rely on constant access to digital services.

Transport and Logistics: The emergence of ride-sharing apps like Uber, Bolt, Tango etc in urban areas like Accra, Kumasi Takoradi operates on a 24-hour basis. This adaptation is in response to the demand for safe and reliable transportation at all hours, catering to people working late shifts or participating in the city’s nightlife.

Healthcare Services: Hospitals and clinics, such as Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, provide 24-hour emergency services to meet the critical healthcare needs of the population. While government policies support healthcare infrastructure, the continuous operation of these services is fundamentally driven by the demand for round-the-clock healthcare access.

Retail and E-commerce: The growth of e-commerce platforms in Ghana, such as Jumia, Tonaton and other Instagram pages of young businessmen and women, reflects a shift towards 24/7 shopping experiences. Consumers expect the ability to shop online at any time, driving these platforms to offer around-the-clock customer service and, in some cases, delivery services to meet this demand.

Security Services: Private security companies in Ghana offer 24-hour services to businesses and residences, responding to the demand for constant security in response to safety concerns. The operation of these services around the clock is driven by customer demand rather than direct government policy.

These examples illustrate that while government policies can facilitate or support the infrastructure needed for a 24-hour economy (e.g., regulations, utilities, security, payment platforms like Interoperability, GHANA.GOV etc), the actual shift towards round-the-clock operations in sectors like telecommunications, transport, healthcare, retail, and security is primarily demand-driven. Consumers’ and businesses’ needs for continuous services drive this trend, and the economy adapts to meet these demands in Ghana and globally.

So in essence if there demand for goods and services like I have illustrated in the classic Ghana examples about, providers of such services will deploy means of meeting their customers and operating 24hours is one of such means its the reason I believe like GUTA president and many business people have opined that Dr. Bawumia’s promise of a simplified tax regime is the GAME CHANGER!!! Because a simple tax regime will stimulate economic growth by making the tax system more efficient, reducing administrative burdens, and creating a more favourable environment for investment, entrepreneurship, and consumer spending because lower tax rates can increase disposable income for individuals and families, boosting consumer confidence and spending.

Higher spending on goods and services stimulates demand, which in turn encourages businesses to expand and hire more workers. These are the conditions that will stimulate demand and drive businesses to deploy means of satisfying their customers by working 24 hours all other modules that will fit their busineses.

I am happy this year’s campaign is turning out to be an issue based one, but we will take turns to analyze the issues and fact check all the promises devoid of name calling and insults !!!

God Bless GHANA and No Place Else !!!!!

AUTHOR: Goodfellow Dei Ofei

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