Claim: “This pragya, Okada business has created more jobs in this economy than any government job related policies. It’s created more jobs than NABCO, YEA and all those artificial job creation programs”.
VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE
The former President John Dramani Mahama on the 23rd of August 2020 in an interview in Nkwanta on Woezor TV with Eric Ahianyo while touring the Oti region claimed “This pragya, Okada business has created more jobs in this economy than any government job related policies. It’s created more jobs than Nabco, Yea and all those artificial job creation programs”.
The NDC flagbearer made this claim to provide a premise in justifying his promise to regularize, legalise and properly manage operators of the Okada business.
Since the promise was made there has been an avalanche of reactions by the ruling New Patriotic Party with some condemning the promise in relation to the carnage on our roads to motorcycle riders.
The Chairman of the Transport Committee Samuel Ayeh Paye in sharing light on this matter affirmed that the okada business has come to play a significant role in providing public transport and must be properly managed and regularized.
Well in as much as there has been a reaction as to whether okada must be regularized, the claim that this business has created more jobs than that of the Youth Employment Authority and the Nation Builders Corp must be fact checked.
To fully unpack this claim, some data must be provided to answer three cardinal questions:
- How many jobs has the YEA created since its inception in 2006?
- How many jobs has the Nation Builders’ Corp created since it was rolled out in 2018?
- How many jobs has the okada business created in the country?
For the Youth Employment Authority, checks with the state agency reveal time periods and the jobs created.
When the YEA was birthed in 2006, the focus was to tackle the breakneck surge in youth unemployment in the country.
Between 2006 and December 2008, the Kufuor Administration (incumbent government’s) intervention was able to roll out seven (7) modules out of the initial 10 modules of which a total of 106,000 Ghanaian youth were engaged and deployed in the Youth in Agri-Business, Community Protection Assistants (CPAs), Paid Internship and Industrial Attachment, Health Extension Workers (HEW) Waste and Sanitation Module, Community Education Teaching Assistants (CETA) module and Volunteer module.
After the change in government, which ushered in the Mills Mahama administration, the data as it relates to the jobs created by GYEEDA is non-existent. Checks online to get specific numbers were impossible. So checks with persons who worked with the agency at the time point to a conservative estimate of 195 thousand jobs. This was broken down as follows:
- Internship model: about 70 thousand jobs
- Sanitation module- about 25 thousand jobs
- Skills training- 100 thousand jobs provided by companies including phone and tablet assembling company RLG.
However, after the media investigation into the operations of GYEEDA, which led to the freeze of the program and its subsequent remodeling and rebranding, the Youth Employment Agency between 2015 and 2016 provided 100,000 young people (out of 1 million applicants).
The Youth in Agriculture Program under the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) is the second largest program, with 50,000 youth in training each year. Applications are double the number of those accepted. In a close third place is the Youth in Cocoa Program, to which 50,000 young people have applied, and 42,000 young people have been trained. Both programs support youth by supplying farm inputs and extension services. The fourth largest program is the Rural Enterprise Program under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. It covers 26,980 youth per year and has the lowest acceptance rate, about a third of applicants.
Source: Ghana youth employment program inventory august 2016 francis babongte avura and ato ulzen-appiah (Study prepared for the World Bank with support of the Programme for Sustainable Economic Development (PSED) in Ghana, implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ GmbH) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Since 2017, over 100 thousand jobs have been created. Checks online could not validate this number but checks with the Public Relations Office of the YEA provided the breakdown of the jobs created per the modules:
- Community police – 17350
- Sports – 2000
- Sanitation- 45000
- Elite sports – 1000
- Graduate internship – 100
- Arabic – 3000
- Job Centre 1500
- Flagship 100
- Afforestation 45000
The total jobs created by the YEA since 2017 then stands at 115,050 jobs.
Nation Builders Corps
Since the program was launched in May 2018, the Nation Builders Corps has created 100 thousand jobs.
So far some 11 thousand have exited the program while the remaining 89 thousand on the various modules are appealing that their job status be made permanent by the government.
We must first acknowledge that per the laws of the land, the okada business is illegal. This means any association with recognized log of membership will be deemed to be an organised illegal entity.
To this end, real time data on the number of jobs created by the motorcycle business popularly known as okada is not readily available.
But the President of the newly created Okada Riders Association Michael Kofi Owusu in an interview on Morning Starr on Starr FM indicated that their registration of members in the last 4 months stands at 800 thousand and counting but we have not been able to verify this claim. We have made efforts to see the documents, which show this number of members registered as Okada riders and so far we have been unsuccessful.
However our checks with the National Road Safety Authority point to one research study titled Consultancy service for a study on the use of motorcycles for transporting passengers for hire and reward in Ghana final report conducted in October 2010.
The objective of the study as defined in the terms of reference for this study was to:
- (i) Verify the extent of the operation of motorcycle for commercial purpose using the (Okada) Odododiodio and Ablekuma South operations as case studies.
- (ii) Identify useful small and medium scale alternative income generating ventures that can be undertaken individually or collectively to sustain Okada operators after halting the okada practice.
Even though the study could not capture the actual total number of Okada riders in 2010, the scope of the study made some projections based on the current population and the percentage of okada operators at the time it started and the number of years since it started, the growth rate for the okada operation for each study area was estimated using Equation 3 as follows;
r =em – 1 where r = the growth rate m=(1 /n) [ln (Pn/Po)] Pn = Future Population at year n Po =Initial Population n= Number of Years In = natural log
Per the report, the projected population of okada riders in Accra per the research stood at 110,632.
The projected population of okada riders in Sogakope per the research stood at 201,931.
The projected population of okada riders in Paga per the research stood at 30,546.
It’s worth noting that these numbers do not represent the projected number for the entire country and is without other populated towns and cities like Kumasi, Tamale and Bolgatanga.
To crystallize the data gathered thus far, lets look at the numbers:
YEA from 2006 to 2020 based on the estimates and figures provided by the Youth Employment Authority stands at 516,050.
The Nation Builders Corps has provided 100 thousand jobs.
The projected estimates of jobs created by the Okada business stands at 343,109 for Accra, Sogakope and Paga. This does not even have the projected numbers for other big cities in the south and especially in the regions up north where the okada is one of the main means of transport.
It is worth indicating at this point that the NDC has not pointed to any body of research or report to back the claim made by the flagbearer John Mahama. Spokesperson for the JM campaign James Agyenim Boateng answered this question on Starr FM’s Campaign Trail on the 25th of August 2020 in an interview with Regina Borley Bortey.
Based on the aforementioned, two arguments emerge.
The first one is that the claim made by Former President John Mahama that okada provides more jobs than YEA and NABCO had no data basis. This means no research findings backed this claim.
The clip of his campaign spokesperson also indicates that this was a speculative claim and not a statement of fact.
The second argument is that based on the checks we have done per the research conducted by the National Road Safety Authority, the projected figures for three cities (Accra, Sogakope and Paga) of persons engaged in the okada business amount to over 343 thousand persons.
We will attach the full report so you can read the details.
So if 3 cities could be projected to offer over 340 thousand jobs, a logical argument can be stretched that if you add cosmopolitan cities like Kumasi, Tamale, Sunyani, Ho and regional capitals this figure could either be the same as the 800 thousand mentioned by the Okada riders association or more.
However this data is projected and does not represent actual figures again owing to the fact that data collection on the okada business is limited.
Based on the two arguments presented, the claim by John Mahama is not factual but speculative.
Even though it can be inferred without facts that the numbers mostly projected could lend one to believe that the okada business comparatively could produce more than 500 thousand jobs which YEA has produced since 2006 and more than a hundred thousand NABCO jobs, there is no verifiable data to support the claim.
VERDICT: MOSTLY FALSE
Attached is a Road Safety Commission report on Okada Operations