The New Patriotic Party (NPP) has said before John Dramani Mahama brought up the issue of legalising Okada, there had been broad consultations and an intent to regulate the business.
In an exclusive interview with GhanaWeb on Monday, September 7, 2020, Communications Director of the governing party, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, said the position of the party on the legalisation of the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes is consistent with the recommendation by a Ministry of Transport report.
“Our position hasn’t changed. What people assume to be our position may not even be accurate. Because the practical reality on the ground as far as this Okada thing is concerned is that John Mahama [when he was President] issued an L.I. for it to be banned.
“We have not enforced that L.I. Otherwise, based on that there will be no Okadas in town. So we are not against Okada, if that is the position that people think the party has. We are not against Okadas because we haven’t enforced the rules against them,” he told GhanaWeb.
According to him, the position of the NPP and the Nana Akufo-Addo government on Okada is consistent with the report by the Ministry of Transport titled, “Facilitation Services for Consultation on Motorcycle Operations in Ghana.”
His revelation on Monday comes hours before the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) launches its 2020 manifesto, which is expected to outline a number of policy initiatives, key among them the proposal to legalise and regulate Okada.
On one of his campaign tours, John Dramani Mahama stated that the rationale behind his promise to legalise Okada is because many families depend on it.
According to him, Okada actually reduces the unemployment situation facing the country.
Meanwhile, the proposal has received mixed reactions.
While some have criticised the promise as dangerous given the number of injuries and deaths caused through the recklessness of okada riders, others believe that regulation will make commercial passenger motorbike riding safe.
Yaw Buaben Asamoa told GhanaWeb that although there are mixed reactions to the proposal, the party backs the recommendation of the government report on the matter.
In summary, the Transport Ministry’s report makes the following points:
- An overwhelming majority of stakeholders in the transport sector say the current ban on motorcycles and tricycles for fare-paying passenger transport services should be revised.
- There is a strong regulatory regime and enforcement required to help address the challenges of road safety and violent crimes purported to be associated with commercial motorcycle users.
- It was also recommended that there should be no interference with police enforcement of traffic regulations from politicians, and traditional and religious leaders.
- Furthermore, it is recommended that the Ministry of Transport, in the long-term, should find suitable alternative public transport solutions amenable to the needs of Ghanaian communities to edge out commercial passenger motorcycle operations in Ghana.