Persons using motorbikes for commercial purposes known as okada riders will not accept mini-cars imported by the government under the Coastal Development Authority initiative to quit their business.
Michael Kofi Owusu, a leader of Okada Riders Association, holds that these cars defeat the very essence of the transportation need that they render and that the mini-cars will only compound Ghana’s traffic challenges.
He explained on Accra-based Citi FM’s Eye Witness News last Friday that members of the association had not at any point been approached for any stakeholder engagements prior to the introduction of the initiative.
“The people there (at the launch last Friday), they are all okada riders, none of them is ready to use any car for anything because it is not about the car. It is what we get out from that thing (okada) and how our customers always want us to come to their aid and then be of help.
“From where I stand, nobody had any stakeholder discussion with us, nobody called us to say anything. We only heard that that is what the government is doing. Nobody engaged us in any talk ….” he stressed.
On the subject of the illegality of the okada business, he admitted it was illegal but submitted that with the booming nature of the trade, it was time for the government to consider legalizing and properly regulating the ecosystem.
“No I said we are not going for it,” he responded when asked again if his members will go for the cars.
The views of Michael are roundly rejected by CODA CEO, Jerry Ahmed Shaib, who on the same programme said the programme had been oversubscribed on the day of the launch.
“As we speak, it is overly subscribed, he said, disclosing that 70 riders took their cars home after the October 22 launch,
He stressed the livesaving priority the cars provide as compared to bikes, stating: “Are you minded to die, or you are minded to live? Are you minded to operate in a more comfortable, safer environment than an environment that can give you death?”
The launch of the CODA Drive, an initiative by the Coastal Development Authority to replace motorbikes with cost-effective cars while keeping the riders safe on the roads currently has 200 cars available to be distributed.
The first batch of beneficiaries will pay GH¢25,000 for the cars and be expected to pay up GHs41 only each day to offset the cost.
The CEO of CODA also said that it is the hope to bring in 200 more of the cars into the system every quarter, while aiming to make them better.
Godwin Annor, General Manager of Cadmus Investment Limited, the company in charge of bringing these cars into the country, announced that for the first 1,000 kilometers on the car, no beneficiary will be charged for it.
The fuel tanker of the car can also be filled with as little as GH¢60, he added.
He explained that this is all to make sure that the riders are able to make profit for themselves.