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Monday, September 28, 2020

Akufo-Addo gov’t won’t legalise ‘risky’ Okada – Bawumia

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The Akufo-Addo-led government will not legalise the use of motorcycles for commercial passenger services popularly called ‘Okada’, Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has said.

“I know that there’s been a recent discussion about Okada in Ghana, I think that in the context of what we are doing we will rather encourage the okada riders to come in and try to lease these vehicles so that they can run businesses.

“They need to graduate from this risky and less safe okada riding to a safer means of transportation.

“Their problem will be a lack of capital but if you bring in new leasing policies and we have our national ID cards with our digital addresses we can have a credit system working and give you an option other than this risky job.

“You don’t want to finish driving school and then make a life in Okada riding.

“You can have a better option and we’ll give you a better option.

“So, yes, we will not legalise Okada business. It may be a tough decision but it is in the interest of Ghanaians.

“We have had discussions but we will stick to our decision to provide a better alternative to okada riding. Let’s give them an opportunity to lease vehicles and pay over time,” Dr Bawumia said at the strategic collaboration of Volkswagon & Blackivy to launch Volkswagon’s new assembled cars in Ghana on Wednesday, 16 September 2020.

The Ministry of Transport recently said it will hold final consultations on whether or not to legalise the Okada business in October this year, after which a report will be forwarded to Cabinet for consideration.

The second phase of the consultations is to engage stakeholders in the six (6) newly-created regions of Bono East, Ahafo, Western North, Savannah, North East and Oti Regions.

“Other key interest groups and civil society organisations would also be consulted”, the ministry announced in a statement, adding that they include the following:

i. Center for Democratic Development (CDD)
ii. Danquah Institute,
iii. Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG)
iv. Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC)
v. Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA)
vi. Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA)
vii. And Political Parties

It said: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the final stage of the stakeholder engagement is expected to commence in October 2020, and a report presented before Cabinet for consideration”.

The Okada issue became topical after the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), former President John Mahama, promised to legalise it in his next administration should he win the 7 December 2020 polls.

Speaking to the chiefs, people and party supporters at Kpando in the Volta Region on Friday, 21 August 2020, Mr 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 office, we will legalise Okada but we will regulate it”, Mr Mahama said.

He explained further: “We will regulate it and we will give them training so that they can do their business safely without causing the lives of people, they must obey all the traffic regulations in order that they be allowed to pursue their profession”.

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