Opinions of Tuesday, 15 September 2020
Columnist: Mawia Zakaria
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Okada transportation has emerged as an important means of transport in the last decade for many in Ghana and offers enormous economic benefits that can transform the economy by providing jobs for a considerable number of young people and supporting the efficient movement of persons and deliveries. It is estimated that Okada business is capable of employing up to a million Ghanains
Okada transportation in Ghana is, however, saddled with many safety challenges which make the roads unsafe and susceptible to preventable road traffic fatalities and injuries.
Okada accidents have emerged as an important public health issue which need to be tackled using a multi-disciplinary approach. The trend in Road traffic accidents injuries and recklessness associated with the business is becoming alarming not only in Ghana, but within the subregion as well. The number of fatal and disabling road accidents happening in Ghana is absolutely high and is a real public health challenge for all the concerned agencies.
The approach to ban the operations has proven to be ineffective and has rather led to a worsening of the situation where operators skip traffic lights in order to escape possible arrest by the police.
Traffic indiscipline has been identified as major contributor to Ghana’s rising Okaada Traffic Crashes and lack of legislative and regulatory framework on the part of the Government have been the key challenge to effective control and management of the Okaada Business.
Under the people’s manifesto of the NDC, an out of the box thinking has produced a master stroke proposal to legalise and regulate the Okaada trade. The NDC has also indicated its intention to introduce an innovative framework that will help the police improve enforcement to address the wider range of behaviours that create risk on the roads.
The implementation of the NDC’S proposal in its manifesto is the means to curtail traffic indiscipline which is a major cause of road traffic crashes and deaths in Ghana.
The Legalisation and Regulation Proposal is therefore a very key proposal that will establish the necessary framework and build capacity of the enforcement agency to improve road safety.
Under the Okada legalisation proposal, a multisectoral board will be established under the auspices of the DVLA where all commercial motorcycles and tricycles will be registered and licences issued to operators. Colour codes will be allocated and uniforms prescribed for operators. All operators will be required to obey road traffic regulations.
A national contravention Register will be established which will keep an updated Register of operators who are caught disregarding road traffic regulations and appropriate sanctions will be applied to ensure safety of the business.
The National Contravention Register will also capture, mantain and process all traffic and related offences committed by Okada operators.
Another National Database of all Commercial motorcycles will be established Under the well thought out proposal. The following Data of the motorcycles will be captured:
1. Number plate
2. Make and Model
3. Chassis number
4. Current license Status
5. Date of Registration
6. Current owner details
7. Bank or institution with whom motorcycle is financed, if any.
Amongst others, Okada service charge framework will be worked out to the satisfaction of both operators and commuters.
Most importantly, Operator Training on safety will be a major feature of the reforms.
Electronic payment options including mobile money payment will be implemented under the proposal.
The above represents a snapshot of what the NDC’S proposal to legalise and regulate the Okada business entails.
It’s obvious that the underlying principle of the proposal is to ensure the safe practice of the Okada business in Ghana.
If any other political party wants to copy this beautiful proposal, the fellow can contact the NDC accordingly.
Co authored by;
Dr. M. Zakaria Executive Director, ISRAD & Dr. A. M. S. Zakaria. (One-time Lobbying Consult Ltd.)
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