Monday, April 14, 2014

Budget constraints hinders national service programmes

INSUFFICIENT budget allocation has been cited to be hindering the progress of the government’s introduced prograamme for the compulsory national service military trainings. The trainings targeted for form six school leavers as well as graduates from colleges in the country which were suspended by the government in 1994, were revived by Parliament in March 2013 with the first intake had its duration reduced to 3 months instead of 12 months as it was before 20 years ago. Speaking in an exclusive interview last week at National Service Headquarters in Dar es Salaam, head of National Service Major General Raphael Muhuga said that, the available fund for training is not enough to accommodate intake of 20,000 registered school leavers at once. He said the national service has two major programmes of training people most of whom youths who have completed national form six under compulsory programme, and another training which lasts for 2 years for those who volunteers. Youths who are volunteering are ex-form four candidates and standard seven school, leavers who have to undergo a six month basic military training and 18 months for trainings of hands skills on activities such as livestock keeping, fishing, carpentry, masonry computer training and many others. He said that, about 99.9 percent of youths in the country have responded positively to join national service programmes but another problem comes on how to accommodate them in the few integrated available national camps in the country. However, he expressed the need of having enough money to cater for the social facilities and other things at the camps, but due to budget constraint are ought to register the number of school leavers according to the availability of the fund from the government.

Head of the National Service Major General Raphael Muhuga 

According to him, the cost of training each intake consisting of 20,000 youths is about Sh. 32 billion for three months as stipulated by the law.  He said adding that, in a year they have two running intakes under compulsory scheme programme which are being undertaken by rotation and these have been divided in such away that they are not interfered with the admission time for higher learning scholars. Elaborating more about the intake, he said another intake now is scheduled to be effective in June and runs through up to September 2014. He said on completion of the training, selected candidates would have time to join higher learning institutions as usual. He said the challenge they face mostly is whenever they embark on the second intake which he said they don’t receive enough youths as expected for most of them are already admitted in higher learning institutions  In order to supplement the shortage, the National Service boss noted that, his institution has contacted the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training to arrange for them graduates from various vocational training colleges to fill the gap. The National Service boss was contacted with a view to get to know the current development status and the way forward following the reinstatement of the programme by the government a year ago. In another development, Major General Muhuga said that, the national service is planning to establish an assembly plant to enhance its tractor’s business as part of promoting ‘Kilimo Kwanza Initiative’. He said that, the institution has started formal negotiation with the outside dealers from China and Korea whose commodities will be checked by Arusha based Carmatec Company. In the meantime, the national service is continuing selling its 268 tractors it had import4ed from India. Highlighting about the development of SUMA Guard project, He said it has spread its wings to 20 regions in the country. The project has earns the institution about Sh. 6 billion per year.

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