Vice President, Dr. Mahammudu Bawumia has said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will not succumb to pressure to make the commercial use of motorbikes, popularly known as ‘okada’, a legal means of commercial transport.
Describing the operationalization of okada in the country as a “risky business”, Dr. Bawumia announced the government’s proposed alternative to offer new cars to the operators on a lease basis in order for them to carry out their activities in a much safer manner. The vice president indicated that the governing party is coming up with a much better option than the legalization of “okada” as promised by the Flagbearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress.
The use of motorbikes for commercial purposes, popularly called ‘okada’, has become the new-found trade for many young people across the country. What used to be just a means of transport for rural folks, in particular, is now a viable source of livelihood for many Ghanaian youths. Motorbikes have been the preferred means of transport for rural folks because it is the easiest and cheapest means by which they ply their businesses.
Farmers use motorbikes to carry heavy loads to and from the farm, nurses and health workers see it as the most efficient means to access the hinterlands to dispense healthcare services The last five years has seen a rise in the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes in towns and cities such as Accra, Kumasi, Tamale, and Cape Coast. However, in 2012, the use of motorbikes for commercial transport in the country was outlawed under Section 128 (1) of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 which states that: “The licensing authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger.”
The law also prohibits any person from using a motorcycle or tricycle for commercial purposes except for courier and delivery services, while it also prohibits pillions from riding on a motorcycle or tricycle as paying passengers. Offenders are liable to fines or imprisonment. These laws are yet to see any strict enforcement. Whiles some are calling for it to be legalized and allow operating within a given time, Doctors have also added their voice that government should revisit the conversation of legalizing motorbikes for commercial purposes.
This is because of the increase in patients that are brought to hospitals as a result of motorcycle accidents. Mr. Mahama while touching on the business of ‘okada’ riders said it is about time Ghanaians accepted the reality that it has come to stay and become a source of employment for many young people.
Early this year, the Transport Minister, Kwasi Ofori Asiamah, said the NPP government had begun stakeholder consultations to decide on whether to review the law banning the commercial use of motorcycles or implement it.
However Vice President, Dr. Mahammudu Bawumia has said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) will not succumb to pressure to make the commercial use of motorbikes, popularly known as ‘okada’, a legal means of commercial transport.
By: Albert Egoh