The government is reviewing the law banning the commercial operation of motorbikes, otherwise known as ‘Okada’, to determine whether to amend the law to regularise its operations or maintain its current form and punish offenders.
The Minister of Transport, Mr Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, said the government was reviewing the Road Traffic Regulation, 2012 because its non-enforcement had increased Okada operations in the country.
“The unfortunate situation is that we have a law which we are not able to enforce. We are looking at the law, either to legalise it to regularise the institution or exercise punitive measures to deter offenders,” he added.
Mr Asiamah was speaking at a road safety workshop organised by the Ministry of Transport for journalists at Elmina in the Central Region.
Among issues discussed were measures being undertaken by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to improve on the issuance of driving licences, testing and registration of vehicles, as well as educational campaigns being carried out by the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC) to reduce road traffic accidents in the country.
Law on motorbike use
On the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes, Section 128 (1) of the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (Legislative Instrument 2180), states: “The licensing authority shall not register a motorcycle to carry a fare-paying passenger.”
There has been an increase in Okada operations in the country, particularly in the Greater Accra Region, following failure by the police to enforce the law.
Mr Asiamah said the ministry would engage the media, the police, local authorities and other stakeholders to discuss and reach a consensus on Okada operations.
He said there were examples in other African countries that Ghana could take a cue from.
For instance, he said, in Rwanda, the authorities decided to regularise the operation of Okada as a way of getting the operators organised to pay some levies.
However, he said, Okada activities had been outlawed in Lagos, Nigeria.
“So as a country, where do we go? That is why we are coming in for a policy direction. We are reviewing the law now. We will consult the media and other major stakeholders as we go round the country,” he added.
On the work of the NRSC, Mr Asiamah said the Cabinet had given approval for the commission to be converted to an authority.
That, he explained, was to enable it to enforce road traffic standards, procedures and policies to reduce the growing rate of accidents.
According to him, the NRSC had received additional budgetary support of GHc6.5 million to support it in its road accident prevention activities.
Mr Asiamah said since the realignment of the Ministry of Transport in 2017, many programmes and projects had been introduced to ensure that the sector carried its responsibilities effectively.
The Chief Executive of the DVLA, Mr Kwasi Agyeman Busia, mentioned corruption, poor record-keeping, the phenomenon of middlemen or ‘goro’ boys, delays in processing licences, vehicle registration papers and road worthy certificates as some of the challenges that confronted the authority over the years.
He said the DVLA had invested in cutting-edge technology to improve on the issuance of driving licences and vehicle registration processes.
For his part, the Director of Planning and Programmes at the NRSC, Mr David Osafo Adonten, observed that inexperience, improper overtaking, fatigue and speeding were the main causes of road traffic accidents in the country.