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19.02.2007 General News

National Service posting formula is meaningless, send them to the informal sector

By DAILYEXPRESS-Orlando Afedo

Ghanaian businessman and Executive Secretary of the Ghana Union of Traders Association, George Ofori has described the current system of National Service postings as meaningless. According to him, the postings also lack clarity of measurable objectives and impacts insignificantly on the human resource and economic development of the country.

Mr. Ofori is advocating an immediate revision of the system to achieve better results, by posting National Service Personnel to the informal sectors of the economy. That way, he argues, they will receive tutelage in the rudiments of effective business management and understand how the informal sector works during the one year period.

Contributing to a discussion at the 3rd dailyEXPRESS Breakfast Series in Accra, the GUTA boss said government's oft-repeated maxims of 'golden age of business' and 'private sector is the engine of growth' will all amount to nothing if the critical human resource base of the country is not developed for that purpose.

“I believe strongly that these national service personnel at the end of the day graduate and find employment in the formal sectors. And as informal sectors of the economy, notably the private sector, if we are saying that that is the back bone of the nation's progress or the engine of growth or the golden age of business for the nation, I will suggest or say that if we are able to let these national service personnel pass through our ranks to get to know how private sector business is run, they will contribute to the development of the economy as business minded people,” he argued.

He added that the posting of service personnel into the informal sectors of the economy for a year will enable them to appreciate the peculiar difficulties businessmen endure in getting things done. This he said will make them adopt serious and business-minded attitudes to government work if appointed into the public sector.

“If the personnel go through the hands of a business man, they would know how a business is run. After passing through all these things, when you get into the public sectors and you become a chief director or any designation you will know how private sector men get their businesses going.”

Completely dissatisfied with the way the nation and its activities are run, Mr. Ofori said civil servants in government employment do not attach any sense of seriousness to their activities, a situation arising from the lack of appropriate training in the essentials of business management.

Explaining his position further in an interview with the dailyEXPRESS, Mr. Ofori decried the unacceptable and unpardonable red-tape and unnecessary bureaucracy encountered by informal sector workers at the hands of civil servants. He described such attitudes as not business-like and erodes the profit potentials of the state.

He also thinks that state officials do not seem to know the value of money and only end up increasing the debt burden of the state.

“For instance, a state car can be auctioned at one million cedis, two million or ten million cedis. Do you think as a private sector man, who has used the value of money to go and purchase this equipment, I would dispose it off at that cost?”

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