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General News of Thursday, 28 March 2019

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Don't rush to legalise 'Okada' - Transport consultant

A transport consultant, Cecil Garbrah, has advised the country not to rush into legalising the operations of motor riders, known locally as Okada riders.

Cecil Garbrah who is also the CEO of Top Tech Driving Institute said those in charge, should focus on reducing road accidents.

“It will be a good plan for the future but not now…I think it is too early,” he told Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Newsnight programme, Thursday.

He argues that statistics show that most of the road crashes are caused by Okada riders stressing, “if you see the way they ride you ask yourself ‘is it madness?’”

On the floor of Parliament Thursday, Minority Chief Whip Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, argued that the House considers legalising Okada services.

The Asawase MP argued that the legalisation of Okada for commercial purposes “can generate revenue and create jobs to address the unemployment challenges in the country.”

In 2012, Parliament passed the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180), to regulate road transport.

Sections 128 (1), (2) and (3) of the L.I. 2180, prohibited the use of motorcycle or tricycle for commercial purposes.

Okada remained barred for commercial purposes also because it continues to be a major cause of fatal road accidents in the country.

Figures from the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) show that in 2014 alone, 2,571 people were knocked down by motorists out of which 1,856 lost their lives.

In 2015, 2,289 motorcycles were involved in road crashes nationwide while in the first quarter of 2017, about 708 road users died from 4,049 road accidents, with 3,983 others sustaining various degrees of injury

But Mr. Mubarak Muntaka who led the campaign, described the ban on Okada as killing the “goose that laid the golden eggs” since the benefits of Okada outweigh the social costs.

He argued that farmers use motorcycle or tricycle on daily basis to cart foodstuff to and from their farms, while nurses and other health workers find them as the most efficient means to access the hinterlands to dispense healthcare services.



However, the transport consultant said the country is not ready, questioning the basis the commercial motorcycle business should be legalised.

Mr Garbrah said although it is creating jobs “we need to sit and do a survey and strategic discussion before it can be considered.”

“In countries that have been operating the services, we need to travel there and find out [the dynamics and how it will play here],” he said.

He said he was left wondering what Parliament will do next, regarding the law against the operations of Okada riders.

“The service is happening because they cannot arrest them and I am telling you for sure that out of 100 Okada riders only 10 of them have a license,” he stated.

According to him, this came to the fore when they do recruitment for some companies and seek the services of motor riders.

He also questioned the requisite training the riders have gone through to be legalised to offer such services.