Regularise and regulate commercial motorcycles

Tema, Mr Tijani Muhammed, a commercial motorcycle operator at Tema in the Greater Accra Region, has called on Government to legalise commercial motorcycle transport for the nation to benefit fully from its contributions to national development.

He said the “okada” had become the lifeline for many jobless youth across the country, and that, legalising it would make way for effective regulation, which he said was crucial to the development of the business.

Mr Muhammed who touted himself as the unofficial chairman of commercial motorcycle operators in the Tema areas, told the Ghana News Agency that over 5000 members from the Tema metropolis alone had been employed by the sector.

He added that the business had been absorbing lots of jobless professionals, as well as youth who had retired from illegal mining and other high risk endeavours.

My secretary is a lecturer. My spokesman is very intelligent. He is an engineer. But today there is no job so he has become an Okada rider.

When they sack the boys from the companies, it is the okada they use to feed their children. The gold mine, when they come out, it is the okada they use to take care of their children, he said.

Mr Muhammed appealed that instead of holding the business under bad light, stakeholders including the public must look into ways of benefiting from the activity.

He mentioned some contributions “okada” operators made towards society, which included assisting the police arrest crime.

During the time of IGP Alhassan, he told us to work hand in hand with the police. We arrested a Toyota Corolla and handed it over to the Community One Police Station. We arrested another and gave it to the Ashaiman Police.

We arrested a white man who went to rob at the Adjei Kojo underbridge. It was the okada boys who arrested him because the police could not pursue him with their vehicle through the corners he was using.

Police were searching for a serious robber and it was the okada people who arrested him. For five good years, he had been robbing people in Tema community 12, he stated.

Mr Muhammed said with the large numbers engaged in the business, it could contribute significantly towards tax revenue.

We want to beg the nation, the President, to help us by legalising the okada. We can contribute towards the development of the nation. In Ashaiman, Tema, and Kpone Katamanso, we are more than 5000 operators. Even if we pay 50 p per day, it’s a lot of money for the Nation.

The President promised us jobs. It’s true, but we are many and you can’t give everybody jobs. We know he has done a lot, but we are many. So if the youth use their brain to create a job, they should polish it and let them know how to pay tax to develop the nation.

Okada is what we use to fund our children’s school fees. Not everybody has access to the free education. We pay for rent, toilet, all from okada business. From this business we built our homes, he stated.

Responding to concerns over the rate of road accidents involving commercial motorcycles, Mr Muhammed said it was impossible to regulate what had not been regularised.

They say it’s illegal, so how can you regulate it? Because it is illegal, we are all cheating the nation. But we are supposed to pay the tax to the nation so far as we are living in the nation and we are riding in the nation, the nation is supposed to benefit from us. If they legalise it, we will follow government’s laws, he said.

Mr Muhammed said with the regularisation, associations of operators would be formally constituted to help stakeholders properly regulate their operations.

He also appealed to trotro and taxi drivers to recognise the role of “okada” operators within the transport system and end hostilities against them.

Source: Ghana News Agency