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Business News of Thursday, 25 February 2021


Government will not legalise 'Okada' business - Transport Minister-designate

File photo [Okada Riders] File photo [Okada Riders]

Transport Minister-designate, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, has firmed up that government would not legalise the use of motorcycles for commercial purposes.

This is because existing traffic regulations and enforcements do not support the commercialisation of motorcycles popularly known as ‘okada’.

“We have an issue of enforcement in this country and based on what is pertaining on the ground today it will be difficult for me to lead the legalisation of okada,” Mr Asiamah told the Appointments Committee of Parliament in Accra on Tuesday.

According to him, motorcycle accidents and accompanying fatalities were on the increase and that legalising the trade would exacerbate the situation.

“Mr Chairman in 2010 the people who died out of motorcycles accidents was 210. With the 2020 figures, out of 2,500 who died from road accidents, 1,050 are as a result of motorcycles.”

Denying that government hinted of a stakeholder engagement to legalise the trade in the run up to the 2020 election, Mr Asiamah said it may later engage if traffic regulations and its enforcements improved.

“Thankfully the police are trying to modernise their system of traffic control. If the conditions in terms of traffic management, in terms of enforcing regulations becomes conducive, why not? We will assess it.

“But with the condition pertaining today it will not be possible for us to legalise okada,” he stated.

Frontiers Healthcare controversy continues

Speaking on the circumstances under which Frontiers Healthcare Services won the contract to test for coronavirus disease COVID-19 at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Mr Asiamah said the agreement was signed on the day the company started operation.

“Mr Chairman, per the document before me, the contract was signed on the 1st of September, 2020. I can’t remember when they started operations.

The airport reopened operations on September 1, 2020, the day Mr Asiamah said the contract was signed, after President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced in his 16th national address on COVID-19 that “KIA will reopen and resume operations from Tuesday, September 1, 2020.”

“The brief I have from Ghana Airports Company Limited was that Frontier Healthcare approached them and proved that they have the capacity to undertake the testing. Their equipment was certified by the FDA after it was forwarded to them by the Ghana Airport Company,” Mr Asiamah disclosed.

At least four ministers designate, including the Health Minister at the time the contract was signed, have denied knowledge of insight into the contractual agreement between government and Frontiers.

The Minority in Parliament had raised concern over the deal arguing that the company did not go through procurement and that the fee they charge had not been sanctioned by Parliament in line with the Fees and Charges Act.

But appearing before the Committee the ministers designate for Health, Foreign Affairs, Justice and Gender, Children and Social Protection, who was the Procurement Minister at the Office of the President, had all denied knowledge of the contract.