24 hour shifts in government offices

July 31, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, July 31 – The Government Thursday announced plans to initiate a 24-hour working system in some state agencies as one of its strategies to accelerate economic growth and increase employment.

A statement posted on the government spokesman Dr Alfred Mutua’s website said that the secretariat of the National Economics and Social Council (NESC) had been mandated to study areas where the system could be implemented, and make recommendations within two weeks.

Mutua explained: “Extended working hours for some service-providing departments and working shifts, will speed up services to Wananchi, speed up development, create more employment for the youth and get the country into a rhythm of accelerated growth so as to meet the Vision 2030.”

The statement tipped infrastructure construction and issuance of legal documents as top priority areas.

“Issuance of IDs should be done within extended hours and at lunchtime (from 8am to 8 pm), processing of Title Deeds, processing of business licenses, etc. can all be within extended hours,” Mutua’s statement read in part.

Border points would also remain open for 24 hours, seven days a week, the statement said.

NESC’s report will advise the Offices of the President, Vice President, Prime Minister and the Ministry of Public Service; so that a well-informed and consultative based decision is made.

The new system, Mutua said, is in tandem with the practice in the developed world.

“We are already left behind in development and if the developed world works in shifts, extended hours and on a 24-hour system, and we continue with only eight hours a day, we will never catch up and will remain slow and poor,” the spokesman added.

“This will not only increase employment opportunities, it will also speed up the work and lead to faster development of our country.”

Mutua assured, in light of the new workload, that labour laws would be upheld and the welfare of the workers also taken care of.

This system is in place in the private sector with manufacturing and processing companies in the country already operating in shifts.

ODM Kenya, which is part of the grand coalition government, has been at the forefront of advocating for a 24-hour economy and had put the proposal as key in its manifesto during last year’s polls.


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