Economist and Director of Operations at Dalex Finance, Joe Jackson, has criticized the proposed 24-hour economy being pushed by former President John Dramani Mahama and the governing New Patriotic Party. According to Mr Jackson, no government can impose a 24-hour economy on Ghanaians. However, he urged the government to provide incentives and create a favourable environment by making a 24-hour economy enticing for entrepreneurs.
“The important thing is that you cannot impose a 24-hour economy. You can only provide incentives for the 24-hour economy and trust that entrepreneurs would risk their capital and businesses to join in. If there is somebody ready, and if there are enough people ready to eat fufu at midnight, I assure you somebody will be pounding fufu at midnight. If there is enough market for me to share my locally produced chips, then I assure you I will produce chips.”
Joe Jackson made the remarks on Eyewitness News on Citi FM after the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced that the government intends to improve the night economy to boost tourism in the country. The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, John Mahama, during the 2020 general elections, promised to introduce a 24-hour economy if elected and subsequently vowed to make such an initiative a reality.
Joe Jackson insisted that there was a need for comprehensive market research and consideration of economic factors before implementing such a policy. “Forgive me if I’m not as excited about the proposal this evening. As a business, I look into certain issues – Is there a market? Is there somebody to buy what I want to produce? Can I produce it at a cost that makes sense? Would I find the right input, including raw materials and people, to do it?”
“As a government, you have been promised to create a framework, make sure that inputs are at competitive prices so that power is available, and I am sure that your entrepreneurs would work without a problem; they would sign on without a problem.
He noted, “I don’t think Ghanaians have issues at all, working throughout the night. A lot of our SMEs do it all the time. Provide the markets, make the input competitive, and I assure you small businesses would sign on more than we can imagine. It is about making the environment for SMEs competitive, financing them with the finances to make their enterprises.”