Ace Investigative and Broadcast Journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni has called on Ghanaians to ask critical questions from the opposition National Democratic Congress flagbearer for the 2024 general elections, Former President John Dramani Mahama’s 24-hour economy policy proposal.
According to the Niemen Fellow ‘no president’ can compel or appeal to businesses to operate beyond their hours of operation if there’s no demand for their services, hence the need for all Ghanaians particularly the Trade Union Congress to demand further details from Mr Mahama on his 24-hour economy policy.
Mr Awuni further noted that the 24-hour economy cannot and must not be a ‘standalone policy’ but rather it should be the ‘by-product’ of massive economic transformation for the country.
“Akufo-Addo took our economy from the outpatient department (OPD) to the intensive care unit (ICU). Whoever wants to lead Ghana should be thinking of how to stop the ailing economy from proceeding to the morgue. So, if a presidential candidate promises a 24-hour economy and the TUC calls it a game-changer, we should ask them what exactly they mean”.Manasseh Azure Awuni
Again, Mr Awuni asserted that the fundamental structures required for the massive transformation that will ensure an effective and efficient operationalization of the 24-hour economic prospects of the country require more than only a stable availability of electricity in the country.
He noted that the 24-hour industries in the country practically operate based on demand hence it would be difficult to fully operationalize the 24-hour economy policy proposal as proposed by Mr Mahama if the country fails to implement the appropriate measures and strategies that would boost production and create the environment for its demands.
He emphasized that ‘nobody’ or ‘policy’ can force businesses to extend their hours of operation when there is no demand, hence people should rather inquire to know what changes Mr Mahama’s 24-hour economic policy would bring to their respective communities or localities when others say it is a ‘game changer’.
‘I currently live in Massachusetts State of the United States of America. The Economy of this state, which has a population of about 7 million people, is bigger than Africa’s biggest economy. Electricity has never blinked since I got here. I’ve driven on their highways from Cambridge to New Haven—about the same distance from Accra to Takoradi—and the biblical heaven came to mind while I drove. I did not encounter a single pothole. There are four lanes on either side and head-on collisions don’t threaten lives and limbs as they do in Ghana. In this economy, most shops and businesses close after 5 p.m. Those who have demands at night stay longer. Many transport services, including busses and trains, close when passengers are asleep.Manasseh Azure Awuni
Ghanaians Cautioned To Refrain From Attacking Critics Of The 24-Hour Policy
Moreover, Mr Awuni emphasized the need for Ghanaians especially members and supporters of the opposition National Democratic Congress to desist from attacking persons who demand explanations or criticize Mr Mahama’s 24-hour economy policy proposal.
According to him, Ghanaians must ask the crusaders of the 24-hour economy of which additional businesses, industries or state institutions would operate 24 hours aside from the various institutions that currently within 24 hours in the country.
He urged all Ghanaians to ask leaders of the leading political parties of how they will maximise productivity in the current 8-hour schedule rather than joining the ‘sentimental cheerleading of pointless slogans’.
“It takes about two hours to travel between two U.S. cities that are of the distance between Accra and Takoradi. On a bad day in Ghana, you can still be in Budumburam near Kasoa, two hours after leaving Circle in a car. In the best of times, it will take you more than four hours to make a journey that takes you two hours elsewhere to travel that same distance.
“Let’s ask our politicians to help us remove the thorns pricking our feet before we fall for their promises to help us clear those on our way. We must resist the temptation to join the chorus that says legalising marijuana will boost our economy with exports when, with our fertile land, we cannot produce enough maize to feed ourselves and poultry. We must be wise. We must ask critical questions. We must reason with our heads, and not our hearts, when the nation and our lives are at stake”Manasseh Azure Awuni