‘Law banning okada Operations Must Be Maintained For now’ – Hassan Tampuli
A Deputy Minister-Designate for Transport, Hassan Tampuli, has suggested that the law banning commercial motorcycle operations popularly known as ‘okada’ in Ghana ought to be maintained.
“Ghana as a country has been with motorbikes for a long time, but it’s the commercialisation of same that I believe is the issue confronting us now. The issue goes beyond okada. I think that generally, motorcycle riders sometimes turn to engage in some amount of rascality on the streets, and most of them don’t respect the road traffic regulations, and sometimes you see two or three people riding on the same bike with no helmets so, in the event of a crash, they don’t have any safety as far as the accident is concerned.”
“Currently, the commercialisation of motorbike is outlawed under the road traffic regulations, and I believe we should continue to maintain it for now until we are able to do a lot more public education about the use of it as a means of transport before we can roll it out.”
Mr. Tampuli made these comments when he appeared before Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Wednesday, June 9, 2021, to be vetted for the Deputy Transport Minister portfolio.
Okada business was outlawed in 2012
In 2012, the use of motorbikes for commercial transport in Ghana was outlawed under Regulation 128 (1 – 4) of Road Traffic Regulations 2012, which states: “The licensing authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger.”
The debate on the legalisation of okada came up strongly during the run-up to the December 2020 general elections following a promise by the then Presidential Candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress, John Mahama to allow it and regularize it.
While some criticized him over the idea, saying that it was populist and would cause more harm than good, others defended it, citing the job creation prospects of the operations.
The Bureau of Public Safety, for instance, demanded details of how the commercial use of motorcycles would be regulated.
The Okada Riders Association of Ghana (ORAG) pledged its support for Mr. Mahama.