NPP government confused about legalisation of okada – Okudzeto Ablakwa

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, has said the government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is confused about its stance on the legalisation of motorbikes, popularly referred to as okada.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

The NPP said before the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama brought up the issue of legalising okada, there had been broad consultations and an intent to regulate the business.

NPP's U-turn

Communications Director of the governing party, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, said the position of the party on the legalisation of the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes is consistent with the recommendation by a Ministry of Transport report.

"Our position hasn't changed. What people assume to be our position may not even be accurate. Because the practical reality on the ground as far as this Okada thing is concerned is that John Mahama [when he was President] issued an L.I. for it to be banned," he said.

Mahama on okada legalisation

Mahama believes the Okada business has become a means of sustenance for young people who are unemployed adding that it has created more jobs for the youth than the Nation Builders Corps (NaBCo) and the Youth Employment Agency (YEA).

According to him, his government's priority is to legalise the okada business but regulate it to avoid unnecessary loss of lives adding that "This is a service that has come to stay."

In an interview on TV XYZ, he said "Whether you legalise it or not, you cannot stop it and, so, why to behave like the ostrich and bury your head in the sand.

"These okadas have created more jobs in this economy than any government job-related policy.

"It has created more jobs than NABCo, it has created more jobs than YEA and all those artificial job creation programmes."

Okada, he said will be useful than even NABCO, why because these people can create jobs within their locality.

Bawumia says no to okada legalisation

In a new twist, Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has disclosed that the NPP government will never legalize okada in Ghana.

He said the decision is a very difficult one to take but it is in the best interest of Ghana.

Dr. Bawumia said the okada business is too risky and the government is looking to create a credit society that can help the owners purchase cars.

Speaking at the joint launch of a strategic collaboration of Volkswagon & Blackivy to launch Volkswagon’s new assembled cars in Ghana, Vice President Dr. Bawumia stated that the NPP government will stick to its decision to provide a better alternative for the Okada riders.

"I know that there’s been a recent discussion about Okada in Ghana, I think that in the context of what we are doing we will rather encourage the okada riders to come in and try to lease these vehicles so that they can run businesses.

"They need to graduate from this risky and less safe okada riding to a safer means of transportation. Their problem will be a lack of capital but if you bring in new leasing policies and we have our national ID cards with our digital addresses we can have a credit system working and give you an option other than this risky job," Bawumia said.

Okudzeto responds

Okudzeto Ablakwa reacting to Bawumia said the stance on the legalisation of okada is an indication of a confused government.

"Once again, a confused government, they are speaking from different sides of their mouth. You get a different position depending on who at the time of the day [is speaking]. Clearly, they have just lost the debate. This is a government that has lost touch with the people and that is why December 7, it is imperative we bring in the party that has the people’s manifesto," he said.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.com.gh