Mr Mustapha Ussif, Executive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS) said he is determined to expand the scope of the scheme operations and to realize the aspirations of the youth.
He said, notwithstanding the many successes chalked out by the scheme, he was confident that the scheme would embarked on many innovations that would benefit the youth of the country.
Mr Ussif said the primary objective for the introduction of National Service was to inculcate in the youth a sense of discipline, patriotism, volunteerism and a culture of hard work.
He said NSS thus became an instrument to mobilise and deploy the youth of 18 years and above to selected sectors of the economy for a period of one year to serve the country.
Mr Ussif who was addressing delegation a from Uganda who visited Ghana and the scheme as a worthwhile destination to learn about volunteerism and youth development.
He said the NSS was established about three decades ago by a military government (National Redemption Council) by a Military decree (NRCD 208) in 1973 and mandate all citizens within the stipulated age to undertake National Service.
Mr Ussif said as Ghana transitioned into democratic governance, the Scheme gained legitimacy under the 1979 Constitution, which promulgated and passed the National Service Scheme Act of 1980, Act 426 by Parliament.
“The National Service Act, Act 426 broadly sets out areas of interest that the Scheme ought to venture including: Agriculture, Education, Health, Local Government, Military, Rural Development, Youth Programmes and any area prescribed by the Board.”
He said the mandate remained, but the duration for the Service was extended from one year to two years, out of which, each Service Personnel was to undertake a six- month military training.
The Executive Director said that contrary to the statutory two years mandatory service, Cabinet resolved in 1997 and effectively reduced the duration of National Service to one year; largely due to financial constraints.
He said in fulfilment of the NSS mandate, the scheme over the years embarked on numerous projects aimed at realising its mandate as dictated by law and for the reason of our establishment.
“At each service calendar year, the Scheme deploys an average of 100,000 young graduates into areas of Agriculture, Education, Rural Development, Health and in recent times the Urban Traffic Management, Private Sector Support and Urban Waste Management.
Mr Ussif said many prominent Ghanaians including himself were products of National Service who gave their time in service to mother Ghana and that Ghanaians owe it as sacrifice to the generation unborn.
“The bigger picture and ultimate truth is that we have a duty to serve our country.”