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Mahama Reiterates Pledge To Regularise 'Okoda' Business And Introduce Electric Bikes When Elected President

The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Dramani Mahama, has reiterated his commitment to legalise the operations of commercial motorcycles popularly known as ‘okada’ if elected president.

He has also expressed his intention to introduce electric motorbikes for commercial use and provide training for riders to ensure proper regulation of the business.

Addressing members of the Okada Riders Association at a community engagement at Ashaiman on Friday (May 31, 2024), Mr Mahama renewed his promise to legalise and regulate the business of 'okada' to contribute to job creation. 

Mr Mahama said in 2016, the unemployment rate stood at 8.5 percent however under a Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr Bawumia's administration, unemployment rate has shot up to 14.7 person adding that but for the 'okada' business, a number of young people would have been rendered jobless.

Safety 

He said legalising 'okada' business was not novel as other countries in East Africa for instance had legalised and regulated the okada business adding that same can be done in Ghana to ensure everyone works in safety and security 

“I want to assure you that a future NDC government would put in place all the necessary structures to support the okada business.” he said. 

Mr Mahama said under his administration, the National Road Safety Authority would work with riding instructors across the regions to train riders on safe riding techniques. He urged okada operators to be law-abiding and obey all the regulations that would be put in place to ensure safety if the business is legalised to ensure safety of both riders and their pillions on the road. 

He said his government would assist and support okada operators to acquire the necessary licence to operate, adding that a future NDC government would engage insurance companies to design a special insurance cover for commercial riders and their pillion riders.

He said as part of the measures, his administration would issue unique number plates to commercial okada riders to distinguish them from private riders, adding that this would help identify them and also curb infiltrators some of whom use the motorbikes to commit crime.

Regulations 

Mr Mahama said he was committed to safety on the roads and thus called on the commercial riders to adhere to all the regulations that would be instituted including the wearing of appropriate safety gears to protect both riders and their pillions. 

He said he had already engaged some companies who were into the production of electric motorbikes and said such companies would make available access points where riders can replace their rechargeable batteries at subsidised rates 

He said commercial motor riders played a critical role in the transport sector as they were able to access communities where cars could not go adding that they must be supported to not only create employment but also supported to operate in safety 

Mr Mahama said a future NDC government would ensure dedicated lanes were constructed for riders when awarding road contracts for roads, this would enhance their safety. 

Instructors

The Public Relations Officer of the Okada Riders Association, Solomon Akpanaba said although there were recognized motor riding instructors in Ghana, they do not have the opportunity to operate as such due to the fact that the appropriate laws that would compel riders to get the training and certificate as proof of skill acquisition to be licensed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority, (DVLA) did not exist.

He said although commercial riders were compelled to insure their motorbikes, they did not qualify for insurance benefits due to the current position of the law against commercial riding in Ghana.

“We are supposed to be operating under recognised unions but again the law against commercial riding is an obstacle, making it difficult for us to sanction few individuals who are reckless when riding,” he said.