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MUNTAKA MAKES CASE FOR OKADA BUSINESS

Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka, the Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Asawase, on Thursday called for a review of the Road Traffic Regulations 2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180) to accommodate the operation of motorcycles or tricycles.

In a statement delivered on the floor of Parliament, Alhaji Muntaka said it was crucial for the country to put in place regulations that supported the commercial operations of the riders.

“Such regulations must aim at instituting the appropriate standards and capacities of a motorcycle or tricycle and its drivers for public transport services,” he said.

He called for a review of the legal provisions in light of the opportunities that existed in the use of motorcycles or tricycles for commercial purposes, which, otherwise, were eluding the nation because of the ban.

He traced that business to Lagos, the old administrative capital of Nigeria, where motorbikes or tricycles were used as solution to addressing the notorious traffic congestion in the city.

Among the benefits are reduction in vehicular congestion and the quickest means of reaching offices and parts of the Lagos city.

“Because of their services, the patrons liken the movement or the operations of the motorbikes to that of an Okada Airline, the first domestic airline in Nigeria, which was established in the eighties by Mr Gabriel Egbinedion, one of Nigeria’s first millionaires who hails from Okada village in Edo State.”

“With the passage of time, the Okada business spread from Lagos to other parts of the country because of its convenience. This business gradually spread across the West African sub-region in countries such as Togo and Benin and other parts of Africa.”

Alhaji Muntaka noted that in Ghana motorcycles had become the preferred means of transport for rural folks because it was the easiest and cheapest means by which they plied their businesses.

Currently the five regions of the north and the northern parts of the Volta Region, for instance, he said the use of the motorcycles occupied critical parts of their daily activities so much so that farmers, teachers, nurses and social workers among others relied on them to get to their places of work.

Citing assembling of motorcycles in Ghana, the Asawase lawmaker said the generation of employment through that business, and it is also having multiplying effect on the Ghanaian economy as some of the riders save portions of their income from the business to start other businesses.

However, operators have been cited for flouting traffic regulations, including the failure to wear helmets and reckless driving, which put the lives of their clients in danger.

“These negative tendencies necessitated a call for an outright ban of the practice and also some of the major reasons that initially influenced the passage of the law,” Alhaji Muntaka said.

“But it is my considered view that the benefits outweigh the social costs and as such we cannot kill the goose that laid the golden eggs by the country’s continued ban on the use of motorcycles or tricycles for commercial purposes.”

In 2012, the House ratified the Road Traffic Regulations to regulate road transport on Ghana, and sections of the instrument prohibit the use of motorcycle or tricycle, popularly known as Okada or Adedeta respectively, for commercial purposes.

The review of the law, the MP said, would ensure that those motorcycles or tricyles could be identified, registered, licensed and policed to work within the road traffic regulations.

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