A Deputy Minister says it is time to legalize the operations of motorbikes popularly called Okada in the country.
A statement made by Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye has suggested his support for Okada to be used for commercial purposes.
Nii Lantey Vanderpuye has called for a review of provisions outlawing the use of motorbikes for commercial transport.
He however stated that the law may have outlived its usefulness given the crucial roles motorbikes play in the whole transportation mix of nearby and distant countries.
His comments comes at the back of the Police and Transport Minster pointing fingers at each other for allowing the Okada trade to continue especially in the central business district of Accra despite moves by the police to clamp down the illegal activities of Okada.
Speaking on Radio Gold, the Deputy Minister hinted that, the laws cannot be seen to be discriminatory, “so when you pass a law, the law should be for the general good”.
“There are certain parts of this country where there is nothing you can do but to legalise the operations of okada in order for people to move from one place to the other because without okada, there is no way the people could be transported over there”, he added.
“I’ve been to certain parts of this country where the only means of transportation for those people who are sick, or for pregnant women to be taken to maternity homes or hospitals, is only by means of motorbikes.
So in that situation what do you do? If the law is such that such things are not permitted, in those circumstances what do you do? I have been to certain places where the road network is such that it is only by means of okada that you can reach another part of the country, so what do you do in those situations?
"You can’t say the law should operate only in Accra and Kumasi and possibly in Tamale and forget about the rural areas. The law is law”, he said.
The practice of Okada was banned in 2012 after years of consultation with stakeholders, and the obvious risks associated with okada operations not only on riders but other road users as well.
The legislative instrument (LI 2180) also prohibits the use of motorcycle or tricycle for commercial purposes but this seems to have fallen on deaf ears.