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Opinions of Saturday, 26 May 2018

Columnist: Osuman Abdul Hafiz

NABCO, not an end in itself but a means to an end

The situation regarding graduate unemployment in my homeland (Ghana) is very disheartening. It had become so worse that there was the need to form an Unemployed Graduates Association. Past governments have tried their possible best to address the situation but it seems like things are spinning out of control.

Then we heard and read in the news that an initiative by the current government was in the pipeline, which was to address the issue of graduate unemployment. It was finally realized on the 1st May, 2018 when the president of the Republic of Ghana inaugurated the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO).

As part of this initiative, graduates are to be engaged for a period of 3 years and is entitled to a non-taxable amount of GHS 700.00. Graduates across Ghana received the news with mixed feelings and that is where opinions about the initiative begun to surface.

Some group of people for reasons best known to them felt that the GHS 700.00 monthly stipend doesn't befit the status of a graduate, others also felt "too special" or should I say professional to an extent that they deemed NABCO as an insult to their profession.

I just have a simple message to deliver to those people: Being a graduate goes beyond what you did in the lecture halls and what is inscribed on the certificate you were awarded. I have seen people with lower qualifications groom those with higher qualifications, take note!

The most interesting part of the initiative is that it is not compulsory to enroll onto NABCO, if you are too professional or a super graduate to an extent that enrolling onto NABCO will "downgrade" your degree or your professional outlook then you can opt to be out but don't you dare try to mar the reputation of this great initiative. Besides you can wait patiently unemployed until clearance is given for you to be absorbed by the public sector (the choice is yours).

Did you even take time to give NABCO a logical and critical thought before listening to the random opinion of others which seems to be clouding your judgement? NABCO could contribute towards building a brighter and better future for yourself and others.

Let us go on a small journey, it begins with you saving GHS 100.00 every month from your monthly GHS 700.00 stipend. Let's assume that you manage to complete all the 3 years of engagement by NABCO. Ideally you would have saved about GHS 3600.00, now this amount is enough to start some small business and with hard work, perseverance and prayer you might not even need any employment from the public sector in order to survive.

Most of us here are claiming we have degrees, fair enough we do, but some of us fail to think like graduates. Being a graduate doesn't mean that by any means necessary you have to be engaged by the public sector.

You could even collaborate with your friends to enter into a partnership to establish your own business as a group. Let's say three (3) of you decide to save GHS 100.00 each from the monthly stipend of GHS 700.00 every month for the duration of your 3 year engagement. After the 3 years, you come together and put your savings together and I bet you, you'll be having about GHS 10800.00. Now you can start something small and dedicate yourselves to it and in some few years to come, you would not even think about government work.

The private sector is also an option for us, we can partner each other to establish private businesses from the little savings that we would be doing which will in the long run also provide jobs for others and in no time graduate unemployment will be a thing of the past. At this juncture, I would like to restate that "NABCO is not an end in itself but a means to an end". Let us try to think outside the box graduates! Use NABCO to develop yourself!