President Akufo-Addo (left) receiving a citation from Dr Yaw Adutwum  after the launch of the NSS Policy in Accra. With them are Osei Assibey Antwi (2nd from left) and Nii Odoi Tetteyfio, Board Chairman, NSS. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
President Akufo-Addo (left) receiving a citation from Dr Yaw Adutwum after the launch of the NSS Policy in Accra. With them are Osei Assibey Antwi (2nd from left) and Nii Odoi Tetteyfio, Board Chairman, NSS. Picture: SAMUEL TEI ADANO
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50 Years after establishment: NSS gets first policy

A ten-year national policy that sets out a broad framework for transforming the National Service Scheme (NSS) has been launched.

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The policy framework shifts the focus of the scheme from just mainly mobilising and deploying young graduates into various sectors of the Ghanaian economy into a more holistic capacity building and empowerment sector.

The policy document has become necessary because the NSS has operated for years without any formal policy guidelines. Therefore, the policy document represents a paradigm shift to ensure that service personnel are adequately prepared to transition to the world of work.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo launched the policy, known as the NSS Policy (2024-2034), in Accra yesterday, with a call on all to embrace the changes and focus on the new face of the NSS. The launch was on the theme: “Innovative Deployment: Developing Prospects for the Future.”

Shaping the future

The President said with the launch of the policy the scheme would play an even more important role in shaping the future of the nation and empower the youth to fulfil their potential.

“It is a document that should be cherished by the state, international partners and friends of Ghana, diplomatic corps, user agencies, universities and other institutions,” President Akufo-Addo said, and urged all stakeholders to support the scheme to achieve its objectives.

He expressed the full commitment of the government to provide an enabling environment, resources and logistical support to ensure the successful implementation of the policy.
President Akufo-Addo said the role of the state was to provide direction and opportunities for the development of the full potential of citizens.

In that regard, he said, he had over the last seven years endeavoured to build the human capacity of the country through initiatives such as the Free Senior High School (SHS) and Free Technical, Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes.

The Free SHS policy, President Akufo-Addo explained, had increased the number of institutional graduates significantly with about 150,000 young Ghanaians graduating from various institutions.

As the number continued to rise, he said, it was imperative that the NSS, which was the institution responsible for transforming the critical mass, was kept.

The President said the policy would enhance capacities, reinforce structures and enable the NSS to mobilise effectively and deploy the increasing number of graduates to areas of national priority, pointing out that the future of the country hinged largely on the youth who constituted a significant portion of the population.

He mentioned some of the NSS interventions such as the expansion of external agriculture programmes for NSS personnel, the establishment of information and communications technology (ICT) hubs and implementation of a matrix of applications to improve efficiency and eliminate waste in the system.

The President said those interventions would solidify the NSS position as one of the best in West Africa and for deploying service personnel. President Akufo-Addo, therefore, commended the Executive Director of the NSS, Osei Assibey Antwi, for his dedicated leadership.

Another milestone

The Executive Director of NSS described the ceremony as another milestone of the NSS, adding that he expected the new law which would follow the policy to grant the authority the opportunity to expand its existing programme, such as the NSS teaching and pedagogy module, the NSS MSME accounting module, the NSS youth in agriculture and the NSS construction brigade modules.

Mr Assibey Antwi said it would also create opportunities to strengthen partnerships required for introducing new programmes and projects that would sharpen the skills to enhance the employability of service personnel, build entrepreneurs and create business champions.

That, he said, would contribute significantly to creating employment within the short to medium term. In that regard, Mr Assibey Antwi appealed to the President to approve the Ghana National Service Authority Bill and the relevant steps invoked to pass the bill into law.

Beyond the policy, he said, the NSS must be strengthened, capacitated and significantly resourced to regulate mobilisation and deployment of personnel. Mr Assibey Antwi expressed the hope that those interventions would help to upgrade the scheme from its status to a more noble standardised institution with properly defined structures.

He said the policy would immediately be followed by a comprehensive implementation plan. “It is my passionate appeal to stakeholders to support this next crucial step. Our resource mobilisation and deployment will strictly synchronise with strategies outlined in the policy”.

“To ensure policy coherence, value for money and the determination of success, the policy will be subjected to diligent review,” Mr Assibey Antwi added.

Background

The Ghana National Service Scheme, as a public institution, has been in existence for the past 50 years, and its operations, substantively, established by the Ghana National Service Scheme Act, 1980 (Act 426).

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The scheme has since its inception undertaken programmes aimed at addressing national emergencies and assisting in areas of national priority. Generally, the scheme supports user agencies in their operations, helps to reduce cost of production, improve productivity and contribute significantly to service delivery.

The origin of the National Service Scheme can be traced to the Builders Brigade established under the Builders Brigade Act of 1957.

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