Politics

24-Hour Economy Vrs Blue Economy: Razak Kojo Opoku Writes

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There have been series of divergent views and discussions about a 24-hour economy proposed by 2024 Presidential Candidate of the NDC and a Blue Economy which has been proposed by the 2024 Presidential Candidate of the NPP.

These discussions have centered on the feasibility or practicality of these policies and its long-term benefit for Ghanaians.

Below are my objective views about the two policies:

*24-HOUR ECONOMY*
A 24-hour economy is an economic model whereby the whole or part of the architecture or infrastructure of the economy adjusts to support 24-hour operations of businesses, factories, government services, restaurants, shops, healthcare delivery, banking and other services throughout the day and night.
A 24-hour economy usually extends productivity from day-time into the night to afford opportunities to business owners and consumers.

It is very critical to note here that, the policy of digitalization alone cannot ensure a 24-hour economy. Not all businesses and services operating on 24-hour economy uses digitalization.

As at now, a number of Private Companies and individuals operate 24-hour economy in Ghana especially Hotels, Transport, some Media Houses and Restaurants. The policy can be expanded to include the manufacturing and other industries.

Some of the benefits of a 24-hour economy are as follows:
1. Increases employment opportunities to the citizens especially the youth.
2. Enhance business-business opportunities and competitiveness.
3. Optimum utilization of resources especially idle resources in a company or an organization.
4. Increase spending in the economy
5. Boost tourism
6. Increases employees’ productivity
7. Reduces staffing costs to companies/organizations
8. Increases economies of scale for manufacturing industries.

Globally, countries that are known to be at the forefront of successfully practicing a 24-hour economy include: USA, Canada, France, UK, China, Japan, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Australia, Germany and many others.

Some of the challenges of a 24-hour economy are as follows:
1. Security
2. Reliable supply of electricity (Energy is one of the backbone of 24-Hour economy)
3. Transport systems
4. Lack of sustainable legal framework or policy guidelines to support the operations of 24-hour economy.
5. Nuisance taxes and high interest rates on loans.

The 24-hour economy is an excellent economic model but there are some gaps and questions that demand answers from the 2024 Presidential candidate of the NDC; including –
1. how the 24-hour economy policy will be implemented and the cost involved in setting up the infrastructure to support the policy?

2. Will there be any incentives or packages for the Private sector that will actively participate in the policy?

3. Can the 24-hour economy helps Ghana to stop going to the IMF for bailouts and unnecessary conditionalities?

4. Can we rely on 24-hour economy to reduce the Country’s Debt-to-GDP Ratio?

5. Can the 24-hour economy help us to solve the problems of higher inflation rates and the depreciation of the Cedi against some major trading currencies?

6. Will there be a sustainable shift system for the employees of Government institutions who will actively be involved in 24-hour economy or will the model follow the current shift system of the Security Agencies and the Healthcare industry?

7. Will there be a new Salary Structure for the employees of both the Private Sector and the government institutions that are involved in the 24-hour economy?

8. Does the track record of the 2024 NDC Presidential Candidate supports the 24-hour economic policy?

The answers to these questions will not only help with the ongoing debate but also amass support for the policy should the former President continue to run with the idea.

*BLUE ECONOMY*
The Blue economy is about conserving the marine (sea/ocean) and freshwater environments while utilizing resources in the sea/ocean/freshwater in a sustainable way to produce Food and Energy aimed at attaining economic growth for a country.

According to the World Bank, Blue Economy is the “sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem.”

European Commission also defined Blue Economy as “all economic activities related to oceans, seas and coasts”.
This policy was hinted at by the Vice President with a promise to prioritize it in the NPP’s 2024 manifesto.
Some of the benefits of the blue economy are as follows:
1. Fisheries and Aquaculture improvement (Food Security)
2. Tourism
3. Maritime Transport
4. Offshore Renewable Energy
5. Seabed Extractive Activities
6. Marine biotechnology
7. Bioprospecting
8. Employment opportunities

Globally, countries that are known to be at the forefront of successfully practicing a blue economy are: Kenya (the blue economy is a pillar of Kenya’s vision 2030 Development Programme), Vietnam, Denmark, Norway, Samoa, India, China, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Gambia, Portugal, Costa Rica and several others across the world.

Some of the challenges of the blue economy include:
1. Illegal Mining Activities (Galamsey) leading to ocean /sea/freshwater pollution
2. Climate Change
3. Security Threats on Ocean/seas/freshwater
4. Overexploitation of marine/freshwater resources
5. Logistics
6. Energy
7. Dispossession and Displacement
8. Ocean grabbing
9. Lack of effective legal framework or policy guidelines for ocean/sea/freshwater governance.

Although, the blue economy is an excellent economic model, there are some gaps and questions that demand answers from the 2024 Presidential Candidate of the NPP; including –
1.how the blue economic policy will be implemented and the cost involved in setting up the infrastructure to support the policy?

2. Can the blue economy helps Ghana to stop going to the IMF for bailouts and unnecessary conditionalities?

3. Can we rely on the blue economy to reduce the country’s Debt-to-GDP Ratio?

4. Can the blue economy help us to solve the problems of higher inflation rates and the depreciation of the Cedi against the major trading currencies?

5. Can we trust the blue economy policy proposed by the 2024 NPP Presidential Candidate considering the current state of the Government’s 1 Village 1 Dam Policy?

6. How would Ghanaians fully support the blue economic policy when the Government is struggling to achieve meaningful success with the green economy due to galamsey activities?

7. What role will the Private Sector play in the blue economy policy? What will be the benefits to the Private Sector?

8. Does the track record of 2024 NPP Presidential Candidate support the blue economic policy?

Again, the answers to these questions will not only help with the ongoing debate but also amass support for the policy should the Vice President continue to sell the idea.

Indeed, the 2024 general election will be an interesting one. We only pray for life and God’s Grace.

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