The Executive of the National Service Scheme (NSS), Osei Assibey Antwi, has said the National Service Secretariat has saved the country at least GHS 112 million in blocked payments to undeserving persons following the infusion of digital technology in the operations of the Scheme.
He made the claim when the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia made an unannounced visit to the headquarters of the NSS on Monday, 31 January 2022.
Mr. Assibey Antwi said the introduction of the Metric app, which combines facial recognition technology and Identity Card checks for Verification and Validation has helped in blocking the enrolment of 14,027 potential fraudsters onto the scheme, an exercise that saved the nation a colossal amount of money.
The NSS Boss explained that “We had them on lists as potential Service Personnel, but they run away and couldn’t register because the system raised red flags and weeded them out, so they couldn’t register. Without the use of technology, we would have paid Ghs94 million, and if they had gone to the private sector, Ghs112 million. All of that money would have gone down the drain to ghosts. Digitalization of our operations, started by my predecessor and continued since I came into office, and it has indeed saved Ghana a lot of money.”
Mr. Assibey Antwi who led Dr. Bawumia on a tour of the NSS offices indicated that the entire National Service process had been digitized and applicants and personnel now find it easier and more user-friendly when going through the process.
He added that the innovation has made it possible to introduce new modules based on the specializations of the students, such as building technology, Agriculture and Accounting, and the fostering of relationships with relevant institutions.
He mentioned that “Over 40,000 Accounting students are produced every year. In order to make proper use of their talents and help both the government and private sector, we are holding discussions with the Ghana Revenue Authority to partner us to provide basic bookkeeping services to the government and the private sector.”
He said similar discussions were ongoing with Exim bank to provide start-up capital and tools for those trained in Agriculture after an internship at the Dawhenya Greenhouse facility.
He also said personnel with a background in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) are receiving training in 24 locations across the country on developing and growing a business in the ICT sector.
Vice President Bawumia on his part expressed delight that the fruits of digitalization, designed to formalize the economy and fight corruption, are beginning to manifest widely.
He commended the leadership of the Scheme for the “out of the box thinking” in embracing innovative ways to improve their services.
“The use of technology in just one institution has saved us Ghs112 million. Imagine how much would be saved if 10 institutions, or the entire public sector, infused digitalization in their operations, especially in the verification of workers before the payment of compensation,” Dr. Bawumia stated, adding, “I am hearing exciting things about your operations. Keep it up. You are doing a good job.”