‘Legalize okada’ – NPP MP backs Mahama
The Chairman of Parliament’s Roads and Transport Committee, Samuel Ayeh-Paye, has backed calls by former President John Mahama for the legalisation of commercial okada business in Ghana.
The Member of Parliament for Ayensuano, however, added that the move must be done after a thorough assessment has been carried out.
“Personally looking at my constituency and that fact that many young people are involved in okada business. If you ask me, I’ll say we should legalise okada. But we should legalise it in a way that will not bring disaster.
In January this year, the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) called for a ban of okada because of increasing accidents.
But the lawmaker told Starr FM that the GMA’s issues are because of the deaths from road accidents, “so their position is that okada shouldn’t be legalised.”
The 2020 NDC flagbearer, John Mahama, had promised that his government will legalise the operations of okada when elected on December 7.
The former president contends that the renowned Okada business has created more jobs than the government’s recently implemented NaBCo, which offered jobs to unemployed university graduate.
While defending his plans to legalize the controversial mode of transport in an interview with Woezor TV Sunday, August 23, Mr Mahama said, “why behave like the turkey and bury your head in the sand?”
“These pragyas, Aboboyaa, okadas have created more jobs in this economy than any government job-related policy. It has created more jobs than NaBCo, YEA, and all those artificial job creation programs.
“These young people live under harassment because it’s illegal and so the police stop them. They take money from them and so my suggestion is that why do we behave like the ostrich? Let us legalize it and let us regulate it. Let’s make it safer,” he said.
Mr Mahama’s campaign promise has since generated a storm, as his critics say it was under his administration that the law banning okada was enacted.
Others also described the former President’s comparison of okada jobs with NaBCo as unwarranted as the two concepts are not the same.
Okada business has reduced robberies
The National President of the Okada Riders Association of Ghana, Michael Kofi Owusu, has said that the okada business has reduced armed robberies in the country.
He said some young people who would have turned to crime as a result of unemployment are now engaged in the business to earn a living.
Kofi Owusu expressed his association’s excitement over the NDC’s campaign promise to legalize the operations of okada riders.
“When was the last time we recorded armed robbery in this country? It is because of this job. A lot of young people are now doing this job for a living. We are not waiting on the government to provide jobs for us. We have created our employment” he said on Starr FM.
He added that when their operations are legalised, the police and health professionals will treat their members with respect.