President Nana Akufo-Addo has described as populist, former President John Mahama’s promise to legalise the use of motorcycles for commercial public transportation purposes (Okada).
The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) recently said the Okada business, though not recognised by law, has created more jobs for Ghanaians than the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo) and the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) put together and, thus, he does not understand why the transport business has been branded illegal.
Defending his promise to legalise the commercial motorbike transport system should he win the 2020 polls, Mr Mahama said in an interview with TV XYZ on Sunday, 23 August that: “This is a service that has come to stay”.
“Whether you legalise it or not, you cannot stop it and, so, why behave like the ostrich and bury your head in the sand.
“These Okadas have created more jobs in this economy than any government job-related policy.
“It has created more jobs than NABCo, it has created more jobs than YEA and all those artificial job creation programmes”, Mr Mahama asserted.
According to him, “these young people are living under harassment because it is illegal and, so, the police harass them; they stop them from time to time and take money off them and all that. And, so, my suggestion is that we should legalise it and regulate it to make it safer by training the riders, ensuring that the riders observe all the safety precautions and provide a helmet for the passenger.”
“We must be able to identify that this is a commercial motorcycle so that we can ensure that they are following the rules and they must obey all traffic regulations.
“You can’t pick a passenger and get to a red traffic light and ride through.
“So, I say let’s legalise, let’s regularise because it has created sustainable jobs and people are earning an income out of this.”
“I think that a lot of our policymakers look at job creation at a certain level, they don’t realise the impact that certain segments do in creating sustainable jobs.
“And like I said, whether we like it or not, that transport segment of boys riding motorbikes for a living, especially in the rural areas where people cannot afford to buy cars and run regular transport services it is the motorcycles that transport everything from goods to human beings, and it has come to stay.”
Speaking on Accra-based Oman FM on Mr Mahama’s Okada promise, President Akufo-Addo said: “A law was made during the Mills/Mahama era [against Okada]. Today he [Mr Mahama] has changed his mind”.
“He said he is going to legalise it. How can that provide more jobs than NaBCo and Planting for foods and jobs?” Mr Akufo-Addo wondered.
According to him: “We have provided over two million jobs with these social intervention initiatives”.
“So, how can you say that okada will provide more jobs?” he asked.
“It’s just populist”, the President asserted, adding: “It’s another sign of inconsistency: when you are in power, you say one thing and when you are out of power, you say something else”.
“It doesn’t help in creating better public discourse,” Akufo-Addo said.