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Opinions of Thursday, 28 March 2013

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi

CNG Gas-powered Motorised Rickshaws: Okada Problem's Solution

There is an urgent need for a creative solution to the problem of enforcing the law banning Okadas - whiles preserving the livelihood of those who own and ride them: for the commercial purpose of carrying paying pillion-riders.

The Italian government is apparently making money available to help grow Ghana's private sector.

Why do the leaders of the association of okada riders not approach the Italian ambassador to Ghana, and ask that Vespa, the Italian scooter manufacturer - which has past experience producing motorised rickshaws for South East Asian markets - manufactures CNG gas-powered motorised rickshaws for use by Okada riders in Ghana?

The Italian government could either pay Vespa directly, or make money available to rural banks through the Apex Bank - the rural banking industry's equivalent of a central bank - for lending to Okada riders to purchase Vespa CNG gas-powered motorised rickshaws.

The current difficulties with the supply of gas notwithstanding, it is important that the motorised rickshaws are CNG gas-powered ones only - so that they do not compound the problem of air pollution in our cities, resulting from vehicular emissions.

Perhaps in addition to Okada riders, the Local Enterprise and Skills Development (LESDEP) and the Ghana Youth Employment Programme (GYEP) initiatives, could both train and provide motorised CNG gas-powered rickshaws for unemployed youth nationwide, to enable them become self-employed too.

It is also a business opportunity for private-sector players such as Alhaji Kasule of the Gbewaa Group, and Dr. Adjapong of the Jospong Group, to import or assemble CNG gas-powered motorised rickshaws (from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and China).

Perhaps Mrs. Florence Larbi, the managing director of Zoomlion could take this up with Dr. Adjapong the CEO of the Jospong Group - as she is keen to see the growth of an entrepreneurial culture in Ghana amongst younger generation Ghanaians.

This is a win-win solution for all concerned.

The menace of careless Okada riders not obeying road traffic regulations, such as going through red traffic lights and riding on pavements and sometimes killing pedestrians, will be curtailed.

And the Hon. Nii Afotey Laryea; the Hon. Jiffa Attivor (the Minister for Transport); and the Hon. Nii Lantey Vanderpiuje (now a deputy minister one gathers), will all have their Okada concerns addressed too.

Replacing Okadas with CNG gas-powered motorised rickshaws, is the perfect solution to the problems associated with that menace-on-two-wheels.