3:06 am. That is when I woke up to start my journey to Agricultural Developmental Bank (ADB) in order to register for the “mandatory” National Service Scheme (NSS). I jumped my hostel building from the first floor because my porter was cruising a Lamborghini in wonderland, walked for 36 minutes to pick a car at Tech Junction because all the cars passing were either private cars or loaded station cars.
3:06 am. I wasn’t going to purchase cocaine or travel to Togo but I had to wake up all because of “NSS Number”. I thought I was early but when I got to the Ejisu branch of ADB, I joined the queue as number 27. The bank will not open till 8:00am. Is this the doing of NSS administrators or ADB?
After visiting www.agricbank.com, I realized that there is no ADB branch office in University of Ghana, University of Education, Takoradi Polytechnic, Koforidua Polytechnic, Tamale Polytechnic just like it is on KNUST Campus. There are only ATM machines in KNUST, Legon, UEW among others. Per this information, it means UMaT final year students would have to travel 2 hrs 35 minutes to Takoradi in order to register. UEW and the university at Pomadze finalists would have to travel 45 minutes 1 hour to Agona Swedru or Kasoa in order to register and all the tertiary institutions in Kumasi have only six branches to access. I have not touched on Accra. Long queues, scorching sun, no chairs, tired legs, empty stomach, slow movement of queues like a funeral procession. Should we go through this stress and expend our energy towards the development of our country?
An additional problem to the limited number of branches is the way ADB is delivering their service. If they had been innovative enough, they would have;
1. Set up their systems on various campuses to register students or
2. If networking would be a problem, they could have gone to various campuses to take details of students, registered them in their office, then bring back their receipts to them.
For crying out loud, how do you promote your bank if your services do not appeal to the people you serve? How would we keep an account with ADB after inconveniencing us? Alas! “truly agric and more”. Maybe the government had this contract with ADB to promote it but ADB is just not promoting itself. Because the government has a stake, they are operating just as GCB.
NSS administrators, respectfully, how can one bank register all prospective national service personnel? When is the system changing so that young intellectuals can stress less and feel good knowing that they are going to serve their nation? In the 21st century where options and technology abound, why are we not exploiting them?
1. All the national banks like GCB and NIB, and some private banks with nationwide scope like GN Bank and ECOBANK can be brought on board or
2. A software can be created where students can pay their forty cedis through a mobile money platform, receive their receipts through an email and/or SMS then proceed to do the online registration or
3. Allow finalists to register with their respective school administration since they have all their details and more. Receiving the money is just a matter of transaction.
I wonder what local National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Students Representative Council (SRC) Executives and various regional and district NSS association executives are doing. They will not dialogue with ADB to get close and make our registration easy because they will not benefit from it. Why would they do it if they would not get their share? If it were to be a programme involving “item 13” and t-shirts, they would quickly do it because budgets can be bloated for their share to be realized. Did you not promise to seek the utmost welfare of students? Or final years are no more students? What do NSS association executives do? Organize NSS get-together?
This is even the registration for NSS numbers. What will happen during registration after placement? If employers are to care about the welfare of their employees under labour laws, this is the time to think about us. If student leaders are responsible, this is the time to advocate on our behalf. We cannot be stressed to develop.
ADB, come closer for us to feel the “renewed spirit of banking” because “we no dey see you”. Your service screen looks blurry. We deserve better.
Written and submitted by Thomas Brown, KNUST