The National Service programme is a compulsory one-year service required of all citizens of Ghana who are 18 years and above, at the time of deployment. The Scheme which started in 1973 now operates under Act 426 (of 1980). The objectives of the Scheme are to:
1. Encourage the spirit of national service among ALL segments of Ghanaian society in the effort of nation-building through active participation.
2. Undertake projects designed to combat hunger, illiteracy, disease and unemployment in Ghana.
3. Help provide essential services and amenities, particularly in towns and villages of the rural areas of Ghana.
4. Develop skilled manpower through practical training.
5. Promote national unity and strengthen the bonds of common citizenship among Ghanaians.
The Act mandates the Scheme to mobilise and deploy “any person to whom the Scheme applies to be engaged, full time, in any of the following fields”:
e. Local Government
g. Rural Development, including surveying, physical planning, civil engineering and rural industries
h. Youth programmes
i. Any other field that the Board may prescribe from time to time.
Any such person shall comply with the directions of the Board.
Leader in Youth Service.
Mobilise and deploy Ghanaian citizens of 18 years and above for national development.
To develop the potentials of young people and create opportunities for them to deliver quality services to the disadvantaged.
SLOGAN “Service to the Nation.”
B. RULES AND REGULATIONS
1. DURATION AND COVERAGE
a. The duration of national service shall be one year for ALL Ghanaian graduates who complete approved tertiary courses. This is regardless of the type of sponsorship of courses, and whether or not such courses were pursued in Ghana.
b. Personnel who did the one-year non-graduate service shall be required to undertake one year post-tertiary national service.
c. The National Service Board shall announce the date for the commencement of national service by all fresh entrants. National service usually commences in the month of September.
d. The Board reserves the right to review the period of service.
2. TERMS AND CONDITIONS
a. The National Service Secretariat is the authority on national service appointments. Heads of User-Agencies should, therefore deal only with personnel who have valid appointment letters issued by the Secretariat.
b. National Service Personnel are subject to all rules and regulations governing the establishment to which they have been posted. However, where such rules and regulations conflict with those of the National Service Scheme, the rules and regulations of the Scheme shall take precedence over those of the establishment.
c. With the exception of study leave graduates/diplomates, all service personnel shall be paid a consolidated non-taxable monthly allowance approved by the Ministry of Finance, which shall be stated on the appointment letter.
d. Study leave graduates and diplomates shall, having passed through the appropriate channels of the Scheme, return to their mother organisations, earn their promotions, if any, and be placed on the minimum level of the new grade. However, there shall be a freeze on their increment and promotions thereafter until they successfully complete their service.
3. MONTHLY ALLOWANCE
Payment of allowances to service personnel shall be made in the following manner:
a. National Service Personnel shall be entitled to the payment of monthly allowances, the level of which shall be determined by the Ministry of Finance.
b. Payment of allowances to service personnel shall be calculated from the date the service person reports for duty and or begins work for the first time at his/her place of posting.
c. National service personnel posted to schools and colleges under the Ghana Education Service, Ministries, Government Departments and establishments shall be paid from funds lodged with the government treasuries by the National Service Secretariat.
d. National Service Personnel posted to Statutory Boards, Corporations and churches or quasi-church organisations shall be paid by those establishments from their own resources.
e. National Service Personnel posted to private companies shall be paid their allowances by those companies. In addition, the companies will pay a service charge equivalent to 20% of their basic service allowance monthly by payment order to the Executive Director, National Service Secretariat. Posting of personnel to these institutions will be made on an understanding of the acceptance of this condition by these institutions. However, private educational institutions shall be exempted from paying this percentage to the Secretariat.
4. POSTING/PLACEMENT CRITERIA
a. The posting/placement consideration of service personnel is determined by an interplay of a number of factors including the following:
i. National programmes
ii. Policy priorities
iii. Courses pursued
iv. Choice of region
v. Requests from user agencies
vi. Human resource demand and supply
vii. Extreme health conditions
viii. Social integration
ix. Regional balance
x. Personnel re-orientation etc.
b. At the request of a Service Person, his/her original place of posting may be changed on health grounds. Written petitions may be accompanied by the relevant medical documents.
a. Annual leave
Personnel shall be entitled to a one-month terminal leave in any normal service year.
b. Maternity leave
Where it becomes necessary for a woman on national service to proceed on maternity leave, she would be required to serve for three additional months to make up for the period of service lost. Heads of user-agencies and employers are expected to inform both the Executive Director and the Regional Directors of the Scheme before anyone proceeds on maternity leave and on resumption of duty. While on maternity leave they will not be paid allowances.
c. Allowances in lieu of leave
If for any reason User-agencies are unable to allow national service personnel to enjoy annual leave, the organisations shall arrange to pay one month’s allowance, in lieu of the leave, from their own resources.
Initial transport claims, from the hometowns to the service posts of service personnel posted to Ministries, Government Departments, and state-owned Tertiary Institutions, shall be paid by NSS at existing government rates (as announced by the Ministry of Roads and Transport). After national service, transport claims of these service personnel from their service posts back to their hometowns shall also be borne by the Secretariat. These transport claims cover service personnel only (and may include two normal pieces of luggage, maximum).
Similarly, initial transport claims of national service personnel from their hometowns to their service posts and from their posts back to their hometowns after successful completion of national service for personnel posted to Statutory Boards & Corporations, Universities, Churches or quasi-church organisations & private companies shall be paid by their organisations from their own resources.
7. MISCELLANEOUS ALLOWANCES
a. Car Maintenance Allowance
Where a service person, with his/her own means of transport, is allowed to use such means of transport on authorised official duties, he/she shall be paid maintenance allowance and kilometric allowance, at existing rates applicable, by the establishment or organisation.
b. Overnight Allowance
When a national service person performs out-of-station official duties, he/she shall be entitled to allowances paid to officers of comparable status in the organisation/ establishment.
c. Apart from clothing allowance (where payable), which should be at the level payable to personnel of comparable status, any other allowances to be paid to national service personnel should first be cleared with the National Service Secretariat.
Service personnel may seek assistance from User-Agencies, Local Authorities (including community leaders) and National Service Scheme officers in obtaining modest accommodation. Service personnel who serve as housemasters/ housemistresses, in addition to their duties as teachers in educational institutions, shall be entitled to free accommodation.
a. All User-Agencies are requested to report the following to the National Service Secretariat, without any undue delay:
i. Date of first assumption of duty of service personnel.
ii. Any disciplinary measures taken against a national service person who exhibits acts of misconduct.
i. Vacation of post and continuous absenteeism of service personnel.
b. Dismissal of service personnel cannot be effected by heads of User-Agencies without prior consultation with or approval of the National Service Secretariat.
c. Heads of User-agencies are required to submit completed annual report forms duly commented on and signed by the service personnel concerned by the end of May, each year.
d. User-agencies will be required to report (with citation) to the Secretariat cases of outstanding performance by service personnel. They may award such personnel.
10. OFFENCES UNDER THE NATIONAL SERVICE ACT, 1980 (426)
Any person called for national service who is not available or does not report at his/her service post, within a period of three months after close of posting, and without proper authorisation from the National Service Board, shall be considered an evader and the appropriate sanctions shall be evoked under Act 426 Section 28 (c).
A service person that takes posting but does not complete the full period, without proper authorisation from the Board, shall be declared a deserter and appropriate sanctions shall be applied against him/her. Three months after desertion, the service person shall be declared an evader. Any national service rendered before desertion will be nullified and personnel on reporting back to the National Service Secretariat shall be made to start the service afresh
Service personnel who post themselves to establishments/institutions other than those, to which they were officially posted, either with or without the connivance of the officials and Heads of those establishments, shall be declared self-posters and the service with the establishment shall NOT be recognised as national service, and the appropriate sanctions shall be applied against them.
National service personnel who absent themselves from work without approval of their Supervisors/Heads of the institutions/establishments will forfeit their allowance for the number of days they were absent. The daily allowance shall be calculated based on the number of working days in the month.
Where the service person is being paid through the Government Treasury, the amount shall be deducted at source and paid to government chest.
For Service Personnel working with Statutory Boards, Corporations, Universities, Banks, Churches or quasi-church organisations and private establishments, the amount shall be deducted at source and paid into the coffers of the organisation concerned. Such service personnel shall be issued with an official receipt.
11. EXEMPTION FROM NATIONAL SERVICE
Candidates for national service may, on application, be exempted from service by the Board, on production of valid documentary evidence establishing that:
i. They have undertaken national service at an earlier date.
ii. They have attained or will attain the age of forty (40) years on commencement of that year’s national service
The following categories of service personnel may apply for deferment of service:
a. Graduates who have trailed some courses and cannot accept posting by the National Service Secretariat.
b. Personnel with extreme cases of ill health.
All applications for deferment, supported by relevant documents, shall be submitted to the National Service Board through the Executive Director or Regional Director for approval. It should be noted that until the Board gives approval, deferment should not be considered as having been granted.
13. NATIONAL SERVICE CERTIFICATE
A service person shall be issued with a certificate of national service after the successful completion of the service. An annual report form duly commented on and signed by the service person should have been completed by the supervisor and forwarded to the Regional Director by the end of May each year.
The National Service Board reserves the right to:
i. Withhold or refuse the award of a national certificate where the above conditions have not been fulfilled.
ii. Request a service person to repeat the entire period of national service upon reports that his/her service has not been satisfactory.
iii. Reward service personnel who offer outstanding service in a fitting manner.
14 MILITARY TRAINING
There shall be military training at an appropriate military establishment. Any information regarding the period, selection, procedures, etc., shall be made known to personnel at the appropriate time.
a. Medical care
All service personnel and volunteers, as citizens of Ghana, are advisedly required to review their health insurance status and ensure that they have a valid registration under the National Health Insurance Authority. This is to enable them access appropriate medical care, when necessary, in approved health insurance institutions.
b. Accident while on official duty
In case of an accident while on official duty, the User-Agency will be required to provide appropriate support that may be needed for the speedy recovery of the service person or volunteer concerned.
c. Death while in service
In case of the death of a national service person or volunteer, the establishment in which he/she served shall pay the government- approved funeral grant to the bereaved family.
d. Emergency welfare cases
All emergency welfare cases concerning personnel or volunteers should be quickly reported to the nearest District or Regional Secretariat of the National Service Scheme.
16. USER-AGENCY CO-OPERATION
User-Agencies are expected to co-operate with the Secretariat and adhere to these rules and regulations to ensure effective implementation of the programmes of the Scheme, and to continue to be eligible for the services of service personnel and volunteers
Sgd. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
NATIONAL SERVICE SCHEME
Please direct all correspondence to:
The Executive Director
National Service Scheme
46 Patrice Lumumba Road
Airport Residential Area
The Executive Director
National Service Scheme
P.O. Box 46
Tel. 0302- 772714
INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR NATIONAL YOUTH SERVICE (IANYS)
At the global level, there is an International Association for National Youth Service (IANYS). This is made up of member organisations from countries, not only in Africa, but also in Europe, Australia and North America as well. Other African countries which have national youth service programmes include Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Namibia and the Gambia.
National youth service (NYS) is an organised activity in which young people serve others and the environment in ways that contribute positively to society.
National youth service serves both individual and community needs through several and varied youth interventions. These programmes or interventions:
a. Offer opportunities for young people to serve others, while supporting them in their activities and recognising the value of the service.
b. Provide young people with opportunities to acquire skills in order to become productive members of their societies.
c. Enable young people to be active participants in their own development.
From the preamble of the IANYS Charter, NYS:
a. Fosters nation building, strengthens communities, accomplishes important human and environmental services, and is a positive instrument for youth development.
b. Promotes mutual understanding among diverse groups as well as global peace and co-operation; deserves consideration by all countries as a major youth policy.