Hundreds of commercial motorcycle riders, popularly known as ‘Okada’ have lauded the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) decision to scrap their businesses and rather introduce the National Transport Recapitalisation policy.
The riders responded with loud applause when the National Organiser of the NPP, Sammi Awuku, explained the benefits of the new policy to them during a mini-rally at Obra Spot at the Kwame Nkrumah overpass, Accra.
Some of the Okada riders who came from various locations in and outside of the city such as Adabraka, Kasoa, Nima, Kaneshie and Lapaz told the Ghanaian Times that the new policy would make them more economically viable and curb the numerous accidents they have been engaged in.
Speaking amidst the cheers from the crowd, Mr Awuku explained that the policy would provide riders the flexibility to purchase vehicles which would allow them to conduct their transport businesses and to pay back to government in flexible installments.
“When we are voted into power this policy will allow for the provision of vehicles to those willing to enter the transport industry to work and pay back the cost of the vehicles; and this will serve as a source of employment for the youth in the country,” he added.
The national organiser stressed that the policy was not a one-off as this would be a permanent part of the Ghanaian transport industry .
It would further address the licensing and insurance issues facing them, adding that “this is a better alternative to the legalisation of Okada by the National Democratic Congress (NDC)”.
He stressed the need for citizens and riders to renew the NPP mandate in the December 7 elections, so that the policy and many others could be instituted to boost the livelihood of citizens and greatly increase employment opportunities in the country.
Mr Prince Appiah Debrah, NPP parliamentary candidate for Korle Klottey told the riders to support the NPP administration as it has their best interest at heart.
“The Okada industry is good but its current state is not beneficial, as such, through the policy we will revolutionise the industry and make it beneficial to the riders and all citizens,” he added.
Mr David Teye Amanortey, general secretary for the Okada Association lauded the policy of the NPP saying, “This policy serves as better than what the NDC had promised, the Okada business can be dangerous if care is not taken but through this policy we can be protected and this industry can be further enhanced in the future”.
Currently, okada business is illegal in Ghana and the NDC has promised to illegalise it when the party wins the December general election. This manifesto promise by the NDC has generated heated debate in the country.
BY FREDERICK GADESE-MENSAH