Former President John Mahama says he will legalize Okada operations if he wins the December 7 elections.
According to the NDC flagbearer, even though the business of commercial motto riding is illegal in Ghana, it has created jobs for many unemployed young people.
Addressing chiefs and people of Kpando in the Volta region Friday, Mahama said: “I’ve been seeing young people who have finished school and they can’t find a job and, so, they are looking for something they can do and many of our young people are riding motorcycles and transporting people from place to place, and we call them Okada”.
“But in our law, it says Okada is illegal but Okada is a reality, it has come to stay, you can’t stop it, and, so, I’ve suggested and I say when we come into the office, we will legalize Okada but we will regulate it,” Mr. Mahama said.
In March last year, the ‘Okada’ business caught the attention of Members of Ghana’s Parliament, as they call for the amendment of the country’s road traffic laws to accommodate the practice.
In a statement on the floor of the House on Thursday, Minority Chief Whip, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak charged the government to legalize the commercial use of motorcycles as ‘Okada’ due to its contributions to the Ghanaian economy.
Ghana’s Parliament in 2012 approved a legislative proposal by the government to pass the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180) to regulate road transport in this country.
Sections 128 (1), (2) and (3) of the L.I. 2180, prohibit the use of motorcycle or tricycle, or what has been popularly known as “Okada” for commercial purposes.
Arguing for the lifting of the ban on the usage of motorcycles or tricycles for commercial purposes, the Asawase MP noted that the benefits outweigh the negatives associated with their operations.
“Even though these Okada operators are working hard to make a living, their activities have been described by some people as counterproductive because many of them flout road traffic regulations. They fail to wear protective clothing such as helmets, thereby putting their lives and those of their clients in danger. Some of them ride recklessly resulting in road accidents.
“These negative tendencies necessitated a call for an outright ban of the practice and also some of the major reasons that initially influenced the passage of the law. But it is my considered view that the benefits outweigh the social costs and as such we cannot kill the goose that laid the golden eggs by this country’s continuous ban on the use of motorcycle or tricycle for commercial purposes,” he stated.