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Opinions of Sunday, 15 October 2017

Columnist: Joel Telfer Jnr.

Open letter to the National Service Secretariat (Nss) on allowances and matters arising

Over 90,000 people as per NSS statistics registered for the 2017/2018 scheme Over 90,000 people as per NSS statistics registered for the 2017/2018 scheme

Dear Sir,

It's 15th October, as per NSS regulations all monthly duty forms must have been submitted by now for processing of allowances due personnel of the scheme. Service personnel hope for the second month running, this submission would carry some weight and see to it that payments due them are duly made by the end of the month.

Over 90,000 people as per NSS statistics registered for this year's scheme in compliance with ACT 462(1982) to make sure those who are able-bodied serve their nation.

Some were posted to areas they had no ideas existed, others are serving in organizations that have no use for their degree/HND qualifications. In all these, they continue to serve their nation selflessly.

This is the batch of NSPs that had some of its colleagues beaten to pulp all in an attempt to register onto the scheme. The same batch had massive cases of reposting since organizations they were initially posted to had no space for them. Yet in the face of all these, our greatest creed has been to serve our nation.

It therefore gives me no pleasure to write and enquire as to why the secretariat has made no payments for the month of August as promised and as required by law to NSPs. A lot of NSPs have moved into new territory. Some have secured accommodation at huge costs while others are burdened with the high cost of transportation.

Do not get me wrong, NSPs can serve without being paid as is happening now, but in an instance where it's part of the rules of engagement the secretariat itself spelt out during the registration process, it's saddening to note that the secretariat has breached it's end of the bargain.

This has left a lot of NSPs in a state of despair and great discomfort. A lot will depend on what may seem as peanuts in order to survive.

The NSS has already proven to have a means of communicating with us all via text message. This is evident in the Hisense promotional package that was sent to all NSPs Nationwide. This speaks directly to the fact that the secretariat could have at least communicated the delay and possible dates for payments to all NSPs.

We are human and can understand that the scheme may be fraught with some challenges, but a total lack of communication makes us begin to wonder. We watched on with great admiration when the allowances of nursing trainees were restored hoping we would follow soon yet a week after that was done we are still left wondering if we would have to wait another month.

We are confident the secretariat will quickly move to resolve our issues or possibly communicate to all and sundry when such payments would be made. A simple visit to the comments section of the NSS official page on Facebook would show you the frustrations of a large number of people.

We understand you may have our best interests at heart, but we can only know that through constant communication. It really doesn't take much to inform us on such issues.

We anticipate your response.

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