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Tue, Sep

Let’s have hassle-free service year

Mr Ussif Mustapha, Executive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS)

The National Service Scheme (NSS) was introduced in the 1970s by the government to offer opportunities to the youth who were trained at the taxpayer’s expense to give back to society.

With the expansion in student intake into our universities and tertiary institutions, the number of graduates posted to public and private organisations to do their national service has been going up.

Deploying hundreds of thousands of service personnel within a period of less than two months throughout the 216 metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) is no mean task in an environment with inadequate resources.

In some organisations, service persons are not utilised very efficiently, as they either warm desks or are made to run errands for their bosses and supervisors.

It is important for employers to re-orient themselves about the scheme, so that when service persons are posted to their organisations, they can help shape and form their character to become responsible adults.

Officials of the NSS have, time and again, explained to service personnel, parents, organisations and the public that no law mandates the scheme to post service people to areas of their studies.

The idea behind the scheme is to offer opportunity to the personnel to work in any environment as part of their services to the state.

That is why most of them are posted to educational and health institutions, two areas that usually have human resource gaps, so that those posted there can work in our schools and hospitals.

We commend the present management of the NSS, led by Mr Ussif Mustapha, for releasing the first batch of service personnel in the first week of July 2017 to give them ample time to prepare for the registration process from next week Monday.

Sometimes the registration processes that service personnel go through have been chaotic, frustrating their desire to serve their motherland.

Spokespersons of the service personnel, under the aegis of the National Service Personnel Association, have always spearheaded efforts to get the authorities to remove the bottlenecks in the way of the personnel while on posting.

Thankfully, the government has listened to their pleas and raised the service allowance not to the level that will take them home but at least to an appreciable level.

The Daily Graphic thinks there are other outstanding issues, including delays in the payment of the allowances that must engage the attention of the present management of the scheme.

Whatever the challenges the scheme has faced over the years, the Daily Graphic urges the stakeholders — employers, the government, service personnel, parents, the NSS and the public — to work together to execute this year’s exercise as seamlessly as possible to resolve the perennial frustration among those posted to various organisations.

For this reason, we call on the management to update the IT system that will be deployed for the registration exercise.

The Daily Graphic thinks that so far the management appears to be on course but it must put in extra efforts to make the scheme more user-friendly this year and beyond.