Hello Mr President,

Another service year is about to begin and fresh graduates are having sleepless nights over the difficult processes they may have to go through in order to do their national service as required by law.

Considering the state in which we are as a country where companies are finding ways to limit the number of employees who should be present at work, I sit back to ponder on the above question as I reflect on the frustrations graduates may have to go through to secure a place to do their national service especially in this period of COVID-19.

I believe National Service which is portrayed in its de jury term as a service to our nation (building the motherland Ghana) is rather a disservice in its de facto term.

Should we still consider national service a compulsory requirement after completing a tertiary institution? I strong believe the answer is a big NO. Especially not when some ministries, agencies and companies are closing down because of the negative impact of COVID-19.

Mr President, just so that you are aware, some companies do not train national service persons because service persons only have one year to stay with them and for that reason, it would not be cost-effective to allocate budget to train these service persons who will be leaving experienced to go and work for competing firms.

To make things worse, because national service is compulsory and the notion is that you would not get a job without the national service certificate, every student’s first line of thought after completing a tertiary institution is national service. That notwithstanding, the tertiary institutions are producing more graduates than the agencies and companies in Ghana can accommodate yearly. So every year there are people who do not have a place to do their national service even though they are ready and willing to render their services to the motherland.

With all these evidence presented, the questions I would like to put across are these, what if there was no national service, are we saying we would not have patriotic citizens? What if national service is not compulsory, can we not have people willing to render their service to the nation after school? Must the possession national service certificate be a requirement for securing a job?

I believe, the fact that national service is a constitutional requirement does not mean the constitution cannot be amended. National service should be made optional so that people can render their services to the nation willingly.

With this, the country would not be under pressure to allocate funds that could been used for long term developmental projects to pay National Service Persons for rendering their services to the nation. I believe the way forward is to encourage entrepreneurship among our young graduates. The budget allocation for paying national service persons can be used as a source of capital to finance young graduates with innovative business ideas that can move this country to its desired level of Economic Independence.

Mr President I genuinely believe you are a people’s president. You take the views and concerns of the citizens into careful consideration. I urge you to make a little adjustment to the system for the young graduates.

Thank you.

Columnist: Frank Kwamla Ahiase

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