Some commercial motorcycle operators in Ghana are calling for effective legislation of their operations to enable them conduct their businesses without any hindrance.
Their calls follow a recent directive from the National Insurance Commission (NIC) for insurance companies to stop issuing insurance policies to motorcycles and tricycles used for commercial purposes.
Popularly known as “Okada”, motorcycles have become the first choice of many when they want to be transported from one part of town to another.
However, the laws of Ghana prohibit the use of motorcycles and three-wheelers for commercial purposes except for courier and delivery services.
Despite the illegality of their operations, one cannot drive through town without seeing their various stations scattered across the capital, with people busily patronizing their services.
Again, one cannot deny the fact that motorcycle transportation, especially for commercial purposes is serving a public need but unfortunately, it also contributes to social vices that negate the good services they render.
The illegality of their operations has raised several issues, with some people, mostly the middle and the upper class, calling for a ban on the use of motorbikes for commercial purposes whereas another section of the society believes a legalised Okada business will allow the government to ensure they have the right insurance cover for both riders and their passengers.
Citi Business News spoke to some of the riders for their thoughts on the latest directive by government and many of them called for the National Insurance Commission and all relevant stakeholders to allow for the legalisation of their operations.
Enoch who has been operating an okada business since 2011 was one of them.
“I was not happy when I heard about the directive from the Insurance Commission because it means if we are not insured then we cannot operate and earn a living. So I want them to reconsider their decision ”
Another rider Mussa who is stationed at circle assured that okada riders like himself will obey all road regulations and asked government to make their operations legal.
“We will make sure we obey all the rules,we will not give the police any problems, so we should be insured “.
Williams another Okada operator also stationed at circle said if they are not insured and loose their livelihoods they would be forced to steal ” If government does not allow us to be insured and operate our business the legal way,we will lose all our customers and soon be forced to steal because there are no jobs”.