27.02.2024 Feature Article

Unveiling the Fallacies: Challenging Senior Citizen and Economist Kwame Pianim's Misconceptions on Ghana's 24-Hour Economy Proposal

Unveiling the Fallacies: Challenging Senior Citizen and Economist Kwame Pianim's Misconceptions on Ghana's 24-Hour Economy Proposal
27.02.2024 LISTEN

I am not an economist or policy guru; however, it's imperative to critically analyze the assertions made by the respected senior citizen and economist Kwame Pianim about former President John Mahama's 24-hour economy. Let's dissect Kwame Pianim's statement below and provide a comprehensive rebuttal while also shedding light on the economic policies surrounding Ghana's energy sector.

According to Kwame Pianim— "People are talking about the 24-hour economy but I don't understand it. What is it? We don't even have electricity for one shift so where are we going to get electricity for three shifts? "We started the 24-hour economy. I was Minister of Finance and we told PwD that all the repairs should be done at night so that traffic would move. But when they started doing that the managers were refusing to go and supervise because they didn't have security to go around. "So, let's think through everything carefully and say what we can do now. There is nowhere in the world that they run a 24-hour economy."— Kwame Pianim, I don't understand 24-hour economy via, 02/27/2024.

Firstly, Kwame Pianim's claim that "there is nowhere in the world that they run a 24-hour economy" seems to overlook numerous examples globally where economies operate round the clock, albeit to varying extents. While we are not suggesting that Ghana's 24-hour economy shall mirror those of New York, Tokyo, and London in every aspect, it is important to draw examples from them to learn how the system operates and adopt elements that suit Ghana's unique context. These cities are emblematic of vibrant 24-hour economies, where businesses across sectors, including retail, hospitality, and finance, cater to diverse consumer needs at all hours. This oversight by Pianim indicates a lack of acknowledgment of existing economic realities and global trends, which can offer valuable insights for Ghana's own economic development strategies.

Additionally, even if there is currently no 24-hour economy implemented anywhere in the world, the fact that former President John Mahama has come up with such an innovative policy proposal deserves recognition and applause. It demonstrates a forward-thinking approach to economic development and an acknowledgment of the changing dynamics of global commerce. As such, rather than dismissing the concept outright, it would be more constructive to engage in dialogue and explore ways to adapt and implement this innovative policy for the benefit of Ghana's economy and its citizens.

Moreover, Pianim's anecdote about his tenure as Minister of Finance highlights operational challenges in implementing a 24-hour economy, specifically regarding infrastructure maintenance during off-peak hours. However, attributing the failure solely to security concerns overlooks broader logistical and managerial aspects that could have been addressed with comprehensive planning and resource allocation. It's crucial to recognize that the inability to execute a strategy effectively does not negate the viability or necessity of the concept itself.

Now, turning to former President John Mahama's tenure and his approach to addressing Ghana's energy crisis, notably the infamous "Dumsor," it's evident that proactive measures were undertaken to mitigate the challenges. Mahama's acknowledgment of inherited issues and commitment to resolving them through substantial investments in energy generation exemplifies effective leadership and accountability. By adding nearly 3,000 megawatts to Ghana's generation capacity, Mahama demonstrated a strategic understanding of the country's energy needs and a willingness to confront long-standing deficiencies.

However, despite these efforts, Ghana continues to grapple with energy shortages, as evidenced by recent reports of power blackouts attributed to gas shortages at major power facilities. The recurrence of such crises underscores the complexity of energy management and the need for sustained investment and infrastructure development. Dr. Bawumia's administration is currently experiencing systemic challenges of power outages, highlighting the urgency of addressing the issue. Thus, Economist Kwame Pianim should offer advice to Dr. Bawumia and his NPP administration to prioritize strategic interventions to combat immediate issues of Dumsor and chart a sustainable energy future for Ghana.

The current situation, as highlighted by the recent CNN report back in October 2027 entitled “Ghana plunged into darkness amid country's economic woes,” underscores the urgency of revitalizing Ghana's energy sector to avert prolonged disruptions and foster economic stability. This report emphasizes the critical need for proactive measures to address the country's energy challenges and prevent further economic setbacks.

In conclusion, while the concept of a 24-hour economy presents logistical and operational challenges, dismissing it outright based on past setbacks is shortsighted. Instead, it's incumbent upon policymakers, including esteemed economists like Kwame Pianim, to engage in constructive dialogue and contribute innovative solutions to harness the full economic potential of round-the-clock operations. Ghana's journey towards a thriving 24-hour economy requires collective vision, prudent governance, and sustained commitment to addressing underlying structural impediments.

Ebenezer Ato Ntarkurfah Jackson
Cornell University—Johnson School of Business
MBA Class of 2015
[email protected]