A 24 Hour Economy

Short article I wrote on July 24, 2015: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/24-hour-economy-tamuno-opubo-cookey-gam?published=t

I think Nigeria should have a 24 hour economy. And I think we should implement this concept in our infrastructure improvement efforts.

Nigeria’s economy is growing rapidly and has been for the last 5 years at a rate of between 4% and 8%. Nigeria’s population is estimated to be 170 million with a median age of 18 years. Yes. The country’s youth, 16–35 years of age, accounts for most of the population. And they are amply represented in the unemployment statistics as well, with estimates ranging from 60% to 90% unemployment of these youth.

Back on the economy’s growth rate. It has been suggested that stronger infrastructure, in transportation and energy especially, would have increased our recent high growth rate by about 2%. And this suggestion is not far-fetched with businesses expending up large portions of their expenditure on self-generation. 2% is a lot. 2% is more than a $10 billion annual GDP increase.

We should be working on our infrastructure improvement every hour of every working day. Present work is from 8 am to 4pm; 8 hours. What’s stopping us from working 00:00 to 23:59 every day? With 24 hour work on our infrastructure, we reduce the time of construction to a third and at least double the number of people employed 40 hours a week in this infrastructure improvement. Example. If it would take 2 years and employ 2000 people to build a new gas pipeline, this could be reduced to 8 months and 4000 people employed.

Who would benefit most? Our youth even if we just consider manual and relatively low-skilled jobs involved in solid infrastructure improvement. Youth employment through manual jobs in infrastructure improvement ha been cited by the incoming administration already as a much needed positive; why not double that positive.

I welcome all comments, ideas and criticisms.