Mr Buti Manamela, a Deputy Minister at the South African Presidency, has commended the Ghana National Service Scheme (NSS) for implementing innovative projects that generate income for its operational activities.
“I was impressed with the self-supporting programme of the Service in terms of the project they run in the agricultural sector, catering services, bottled water production plant as well as manufacturing and fabrication modules that generate income for the service,” he explained.
Mr Manamela made the commendation in Accra when a six-member delegation from South Africa, on a three-day study tour of the Scheme’s operation, paid a courtesy call on Dr Michael Kpessa-Whyte, the Executive Director of the NSS.
They intend to use their experiences to help in the restructuring process of South Africa’s Service Scheme.
Mr Manamela, who is also the head of the delegation, said theirs was a voluntary scheme, unlike Ghana’s, which was mandatory.
He explained that South Africa chose Ghana because of the successes it had chalked in its operation through innovative projects, as well as the peaceful atmosphere in the country, saying Ghana was indeed a beacon of democracy.
The delegation on their first day, visited the Scheme’s Papao Farms in Haatso, the Motor Transport and Traffic Unit of the Airport Police Station which is under the Scheme’s Module, and Subah, an urban sanitation programme to acquaint themselves on the operations of the modules.
Dr Kpessa-Whyte said the Scheme was established in 1973, under the Ministry of Education, with a National Secretariat in Accra, and offices in all the administrative regions and districts across the country.
He said the Scheme was mandated to deploy a pool of skilled manpower drawn primarily from tertiary institutions to support development efforts of both the public and private sectors.
Dr Kpessa-Whyte explained that the intent of deploying fresh graduates was to ensure that priority sectors of the national life were never lacking in the requisite human resources needed for development.
He explained that the scheme’s modules comprised the Educational Support Unit, the Agricultural and Agro-business, Rural Development Services, Community Health, Urban Sanitation Management, Urban Traffic management, Private Sector and General Administration.
Dr Kpessa-Whyte said its objective was to encourage the spirit of service to the nation among all segments of the Ghanaian society in the effort of nation-building through active participation and projects designed to combat hunger, illiteracy, disease and unemployment in Ghana.
The Scheme is mandated to help provide essential services and amenities, particularly, in rural areas, develop skilled manpower through practical training and promote national unity and strengthen the bonds of common citizenship among Ghanaians.
Dr Kpessa-Whyte said the scheme had impacted positively on society since it was a gateway to the formal labour market for most educated Ghanaians and it helped in the acquisition of additional skills beyond the academic lecture halls.