The Chief Executive Officer of Reroy Cables, Kate Quartey-Papafio, has called on more businesses, especially those in the manufacturing sector, to operate a 24-hour cycle, to help improve productivity.
This, according to her, will help increase the volume of goods and services produced in the country to enable businesses to compete effectively with imported products and services whiles creating more jobs for the huge unemployed population.
“Industries need to operate on a 24-hour shift. With companies operating at full capacity more jobs will be created and the much needed growth we desire will be achieved,” she said in an interview with the B&FT at the closing ceremony of the Ghana International Power, Electrical and Electronics Expo (POWERELEC), in Accra.
Currently, few companies in the manufacturing sector do a 24-hour shift operation and a lot more of them, Mrs. Quartey-Papafio said, are required to join those operating around the clock operations.
The 24-hour economy has long been adopted by a good number of countries across the globe, where all workers do not go home at more or less the same time after an eight- or twelve-hour day.
In a 24-hour economy, the normal eight-hour working day is divided into three eight hour shifts, which means that workers have different times within the twenty-four hours at which they go to work and close from work.
Proponents argue that it helps raise productivity; some even say it has the potential to even out, to some extent, vehicular traffic distribution, thereby decreasing rush-hour traffic jams.
According to London First, a non-profit which wants to make London the best city in the world to do business, London’s night-time economy contributed £17.7bn to £26.3bn in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy in 2014.
Its economic activity directly supports 723,000 jobs – one in eight in London, and the big employers include not just hotels and restaurants (97,125 jobs) and arts and entertainment (46,592) but a whole range of industries.
These industries range from transport and storage (107,136); health and social work (101,282); admin and support services (62,150); professional, scientific and technical (59,803); wholesale, retail and repair (59,248); and information and communication (54,558).
London First said when indirect impacts are included, the night-time economy is responsible for 1.26 million jobs overall and £40.1bn GVA.
That figure is likely to grow by a further £1.63 billion a year by 2026, and by £2 billion a year by the end of that decade as another 66,000 jobs are added.
In Africa, Kenya has been making strides at running a 24-hour economy, although naysayers have cast doubts over how impactful the move has been since its adoption.
In 2009, that country put together a National 24-hour Economy Steering Committee, which produced a working paper outlining a strategy.
“The main objective of the initiative is to unlock the potential of the Kenyan economy, increase productivity and production, and create employment,” the working paper said.
“As envisaged by the Vision 2030 plan, Kenya is expected to move closer to the status of an advanced economy where a 24-hour market system is more the norm,” it added.
The call for a 24-hour economy in Ghana comes at a time power supply has been erratic, even though there has been a semblance of stability in recent months.
The Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) in its latest business barometer survey found that the availability and cost of power is among the top two challenges facing industries in the country, which makes the proposition of a 24-hour business cycle a distant dream amid less than satisfactory consumer demand for made-in Ghana goods.