What has changed for national service persons?

BY: Richard Osei-Yeboah

The sufferings of National Service Persons (NSP) across the country that once earned the scheme the ‘National Suffering Scheme’ some years back still hover around today. Many anticipated a massive improvement and re-structuring, with the exit of Mr Vincent Kuagbenu and the entry of Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, that would ensure better lives for service persons.

Sadly, the suffering commenced for the 2015/2016 batch several months even before the mandatory service began when students were forced to pay a pre-requisite online registration fee of GH¢40 amid public outcry and resistance by people such as Mr Kwaku Kwarteng, the Member of Parliament for Obuasi West.

The national service Secretariat, in a statement signed by Dr. Kpesa-Whyte, justified the charges, attributing them to several changes earmarked to be effected in the scheme to ease the frustrations of the service persons. Twenty cedis was charged for registration, GH¢10 for National Service Personnel Association (

The secretariat argued that over the years, service persons had to wait several months into their service before receiving their ID cards and that the upfront payment would facilitate the production of the ID cards even before the service starts. So where are the ID cards now?

Aside the supposed GH¢10 for ID cards, we paid GH¢2.50 for a single passport picture with a so-called NSS background. Was this another act of extortion? Was the estimated GH¢2.5 million accrued from the GH¢40 paid by each prospective service person not enough?

The second month duty report forms have been submitted yet the ID cards and other souvenirs we paid for are not available, not to mention the meagre GH¢350 monthly allowance which is nothing in an economically bruised nation like ours.  Why must the poor Ghanaian student offering his/her services to the nation be plunged into such awfulness as a result of the inefficiencies and incompetence that have riddled the scheme?

The silence of NASPA on the plight of service persons is suggestive of their involvement in the scandalous conduct of the scheme.

I want to bring to the attention of Dr Kpessa-Whyte that the ‘unreasonable’ reasons ascribed to the compulsory upfront payment are yet to be realised, since no single change is visible in the modus operandi of the scheme towards service persons.

He should give a little attention to our needs.