Stakeholder consultations on ‘Okada’ legalisation have begun – Transport Minister

Transport Minister, Kwasi Ofori Asiamah, says the NPP government has begun stakeholder consultations to decide on whether to review the law banning the commercial use of motorcycles or implement it.

“We as a government know that this is a matter that we need to take our time to confront the people, come out with their views and that, will determine the law that should be put in place,” Mr Asiamah stated.

He said laws are meant to be changed when needed depending on the times adding that if amending the law will be a better option, government will not hesitate to do so.

This comes after John Mahama in August promised his government will legalise the commercial operation of motorbikes popularly known as Okada if voted into power in 2021.

According to him, the Okada business has become a means of sustenance for young people who are unemployed.

His comments generated mixed reactions from Ghanaians with one section throwing their support behind it while another called for the implementation of the law banning the okada operation.

Senior Vice-President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil added his voice to the section of the public that is advocating for the legalisation of the commercial use of motorbikes.

He said if government is not ready to “legalise and properly regulate this important transport and economically viable sub sector, then they are not prepared to run a country like Ghana”.

But reacting to the promise, the Motor Transport and Traffic Department, MTTD, said it will be challenging to regulate the commercial use of motorbikes.

Speaking to JoyNews Head of Research and Programmes at the MTTD Alexander Obeng said there are other factors to consider including the training of police personnel to enforce the law, deployment and others.

Transport Consultant and road safety expert Cecil Gabrah also warned against the use of regularisation of the Okada business to lure the youth for votes.

“The risk involved is too high. In Accra alone we have a lot of very fatal cases. Speak to Korle Bu Teaching and 37 Military Hospital and they will give you the daily statistics of fatalities,” he said.

Despite the foregoing debate, Mr Kwasi Asiamah said government’s decision to have a stakeholder consultation has nothing to do with the NDC.

He stated that government had started a conversation on reviewing the law in 2019.

“We are governing the nation so our activities is different from someone who is on a campaign trail. We are supposed to government this county to the best of our ability, and what will be in the interest of this country.”

Mr Asiamah stated that the stakeholders views after the consutations will influence the decision government takes.

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