Realign operations with national development goals - President Akufo-Addo to NSS
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has charged the National Service Scheme (NSS) to align its operations with the long-term development objectives of the country.
He mentioned education, health and information and communication technology (ICT) as some of the sectors they could tailor their programmes along.
Others are digitalisation and graduate youth in agriculture programmes to support import substitution and also address food security challenges.
President Akufo-Addo gave the charge when he launched the 50th anniversary celebration of the scheme in Accra yesterday.
The event was aimed at reigniting passion to give meaning to the schemes core values of integrity, patriotism, professionalism, excellence and self-reliance.
It was also to project the scheme’s contribution to national development through partnership with other stakeholders.
President Akufo-Addo acknowledged the current administrative arrangements of the NSS to expand its scope of operations to respond to the exigencies of the time.
In doing so, he said, the scheme had created and executed initiatives to harness the potential of the youth for national cohesion and job creation for sustainable development.
“This holistic transformation agenda is tied to the new strategic direction of using the scheme and other pro-youth agencies to address specific employment needs of fresh graduates and national service personnel as it relates to their training and skills development for pre-employment support activities, as well as instil the values of civic responsibility, nationalism and volunteerism in them,” he added.
While commending the scheme for its immense contribution since its inception, President Akufo-Addo announced the establishment of a draft policy document to guide the scheme in its work.
In line with that, he said, a draft bill to transition the scheme to the status of an authority would be developed and laid before Parliament for consideration.
“The policy and the law will give backing to a model called deployment for employment, a scheme designed to encourage young graduates to create a positive impact and contribute to the development of our nation,” the President added.
With emerging developments across the world such as growing youth unemployment, increased migration, climate change and its adverse effects on the environment, as well as the general economic downturn bedevilling many countries, he said the state and its agencies would not continue with business as usual.
President Akufo-Addo further said that the government had since 2017, engaged young people, including national service personnel, in productive and constructive ways to build their capacity.
“We should not only prioritise young adults needs and build schemes needed for them to become productive and successful members of society, but we also need to strengthen young people's sense of identity and belief in the future,” he said.
The scheme, the President said, had also undertaken economic enclave programmes in the last four years.
They include the deployment of 65,000 graduate youth to agricultural enclaves, creation of 81,000 jobs to agriculture and allied sectors, development of 20, 000 hectares of land for production, production of 110,000 metric tonnes of food, 1.5 million beds and the generation of $92 million revenue.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, advised against the frequent use of NSS personnel as messengers and for running of errands.
He said the scheme was meant to help the youth to develop a character of placing the nation first.
Mr Bagbin also gave an assurance that allocation of funds to the scheme would be scrutinised by parliament.
For his part, the Executive Director of NSS, Osei Assibey Antwi, said the scheme had not departed from its core mandate as it was still deploying personnel to the health and education sectors while it continued to offer administrative support.
In a speech read on her behalf, the Chief Justice, Justice Gertrude Sackey Torkonoo, suggested a review in the operations of the scheme to make more impact on national development.