Minority Chief Whip, and Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase Constituency in the Ashanti Region, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak Mohammed has made a strong case for the legalization of motorcycles and tricycles for commercial purposes popularly known as Okada.
According to the Asawase lawmaker, the rise of the Okada phenomenon is because of its convenience and opportunities for job creation associated with Okada business.
He, therefore, called for the house to review its laws and regulate its usage.
The Asawase MP made the call for the regulation and legalization Okada business when he made a statement on the floor of parliament yesterday in Accra.
Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak appealed to colleagues to join in the crusade he has started to have the ban on commercialization of motorcycles and tricycles 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.” He noted.
Meanwhile, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr. 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.
In another development the Deputy Transport Minister, Mr 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.
Story: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
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