Parliament divided over legalizing ‘Okada’ business

Parliament divided over legalizing ‘Okada’ business

Parliament was on Thursday divided over the possibility of lifting the ban on commercial use of motorcycles and tricycles in the country. This foll

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Parliament was on Thursday divided over the possibility of lifting the ban on commercial use of motorcycles and tricycles in the country.

This follows a proposal days ago by the deputy Transport Minister, Titus Glover during a stakeholders meeting to assess and review the issues within the transport sector, that all motorbikes should be banned after 9 or 10 pm.

He maintained that the use of motor bikes around that time contributes to the rising cases of armed robbery and accidents.

However, delivering a statement on the floor of the House, Asawase MP, Muntaka Mubarak urged the House to amend the law that banned the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes popular called Okada.

The Okada business he argued has generated jobs for several youth particularly his constituency and adds that it is the most convenient form of transport around there.

At a time when the country has been bedeviled with widespread unemployment, Muntaka Mubarak remarked that the ban must be critically reassessed as the commercial use of motorbikes has tendency of reducing unemployment and make movements more convenient.

“In recent times, however, there has been a rise in the use of motorcycles or tricylces for commercial purposes in towns and cities such as Accra, Kumasi, Tamale and Cape Coast. In Asawase constituency, Mr Speaker, motorcycles and trycycles is estimated to be about 40% of critical means of transport for persons living within the constituency” the Asawase MP disclosed.

“Motorcycles and tricycles presents a perfect opportunity for us to establish a factory as part of our quest to industrialise by establishing an assembling plant here in Ghana and exporting them to countries like Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin and La Cote D’Ivoire where these motorbikes are predominantly used as public transport. It can generate revenue and create wealth to address the unemployment of our country” the Minority Chief Whip stressed.

His position didn’t go down well with all members some of who raised counter arguments for the status quo to be maintained and the ban properly enforced.

First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joe Osei Owusu argued that motorbikes did not offer the best safety measures to minimize the impact of accidents.

The Bekwai legislator was of the view that allowing people to use motorcycles in such large numbers will only be risking the lives of many citizens.

“…even vehicles, however well plastered, you are provided with a seat belt. With all the roof and glasses around you, you are provided with seat belt so that in a case of an emergency you are protected. Do we have any seat belt on motorcycles? Where will the person hold? That is the kind of danger we are saying that because there is want, because there is need, we should subject Ghanaian travelers to. No!”

Buttressing the point raised by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Majority leader said the number of deaths recorded is too alarming to open the space.

He insisted that permitting the use of motor bikes commercially means choosing convenience over safety.

By: Jonah Eledi/awakenewsonline.com