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General News of Friday, 29 March 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

Two groups petition Speaker over legalisation of ‘okada’

Parliament has received petitions from two bodies on the subject of the legalisation of the use of motorcycles and tricycles for commercial purposes popularly known as Okada.

According to the Ranking Member on the Roads and Transport Committee of Parliament, Kwami Agbodza, the groups want the House to review the laws that currently ban the use of Okada.

The Speaker on Thursday after a discussion on the matter of regularizing Okada referred the subject to the Roads and Transport Committee to suggest how to deal with the phenomenon.

The Adaklu MP has been speaking to Citi News on calls for Parliament to legalise the use of Okada.

“Two groups, one of them is a distributor of those tricycles and the other is a group of people who already operate those things. They were holding the current legislation in hand and they say that they know what the legislation is. They are encouraging us to amend the legislation to make their work easier.”

Muntaka pushes for legalization of Okada

The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak has made a strong case for the legalization of motorcycles and tricycles for commercial purposes popularly known as Okada.

According to him, the rise of the phenomenon is because of convenience and opportunities for job creation associated with the business.

He, therefore, called for the house to review its laws and regulate its usage.

The Asawase MP made a statement on the floor of Parliament asking colleagues to join in the crusade to have the ban on it lifted.

“The Okada business is also having multiplier effect on the Ghanaian economy in that some of the riders save portions of their income from this business to start other businesses while employing some of their family members to run them. In Nigeria, in most populous cities, there are over 200,000 Okada operators providing direct employment to over 500,000 people.

“Given its widespread usage in the sub-region, motorcycles present an opportunity for us to establish a factory as part of our quest to be excellent. Assembling the motorcycles here in Ghana and exporting them to countries like Burkina Faso and Cote D’lvoire, where these bikes are used as public transport can generate revenue and address the unemployment situation in the country.”

Meanwhile, First Deputy Speaker, Joe Osei Owusu, says the safety concerns associated with the use of Okada and its excesses does not make it a viable mode of transport, hence the ban should be in place.

His concerns follow the Transport Minister’s call on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to arrest persons who use motorcycles, popularly called Okada after 9:30 pm.

The Minister had said the move will help reduce crime as well as motorcycle related deaths accidents in the country.

Statistics from the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Department show that 200 motorcyclists lost their lives in 2010.

The number shot up to 400 in 2012.

Deputy Transport Minister, Titus Glover said a nationwide ban on the use of motorcycles in the night will help reduce crime in the country.

“Any motorcycle that we see around that time till the next morning should be arrested. Some education can be done before the directive is implemented,” the Minister said.

On the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes, Section 128 (1) of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180), states: “The licensing authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger.”

There has been an increase in Okada operations in the country, particularly in the Greater Accra Region, following failure by the police to enforce the law.

The government recently indicated that it is reviewing the law banning the commercial operation of motorbikes to determine whether to amend the law to regularize its operations or maintain its current form and punish offenders.

Mr. Asiamah said the government is reviewing the Road Traffic Regulation, 2012 because its non-enforcement has increased Okada operations in the country.