The National Service Scheme (NSS) has uncovered and blocked the payment of GH¢112 million through the adoption of digital technology in its operations, the Executive Director, Osei Assibey Antwi, has disclosed.
According to Mr Assibey Antwi, the introduction of the Metric app, which combines facial recognition technology and Identity Card checks for verification and validation enabled NSS to block the enrolment of 14,027 potential fraudsters onto the scheme, thereby, saving the nation from the payment of the colossal amount to these undeserved persons.
“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,” he said.
“Without the use of this technology, we would have paid GH¢94 million, and if they had gone to the private sector, GH¢112 million. All of that money would have gone down the drain to ‘ghosts’”.
This latest discovery comes on the back of the digitalisation of our operations, started by my predecessor and continued since I came into office, which has indeed saved Ghana a lot of money,” he emphasized.
The Executive Director of NSS, who made this disclosure during an unannounced visit by the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, said that the entire national service process had been digitised, making it easier and more user friendly.
Additionally, he stated that it 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.
“Over 40,000 Accounting students are produced every year. To make proper use of their talents and help both the government and private sector, we are holding discussions with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to partner us to provide basic bookkeeping services to government and the private sector,” he revealed.
He added that similar discussions were ongoing with Eximbank to provide start-up capital and tools for those trained in Agriculture after an internship at the Dawhenya Greenhouse facility.
Also, 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.
The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who was elated by the development, commended the effort of the Scheme, for saving the country from such payments, while also recognising the realities of the digitalization agenda, which, among other things, is to formalize the economy and fight corruption.
“The use of technology in just one institution has saved us GH¢112 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.
Also, he lauded the work of the management of NSS, especially, the latest effort to develop and ensure the productive application of the competencies of personnel.
“I think you have an out of the box thinking and this is how we should do,” Dr. Bawumia stat while pledging his support to enable the Scheme to actualise its vision for the youth.