GOV’T CAN DO BETTER FOR BODA-BODA RIDERS
As the country implements various measures to contain the possible outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the impact continues to expand across different sectors of the economy. On Sunday last week, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises were hard-hit after the government enforced a stringent measure, which bars commercial motorbike operators commonly known as boda-boda riders from doing business. In less than just a day after the order came into effect, it has already sent the signal of far-reaching economic implications on the boys defining the streets of Juba. Most people who operate motorbikes in Juba for commercial purposes do not have alternative sources of income, which means the consequences of the ban can even be more adverse as time rolls on. But just like omnibus operators, who are allowed to ferry a half of the usual number of their passengers, the government could have relaxed this measure for the boda-boda riders. What can be a better idea than that of allowing a boda-boda rider wear his protective gear and carry just a single passenger per destination? In this case, there’s nothing. So, at this point, the government should revise down what seems to be harsh measures on people operating motorbikes for commercial gains. It is understandable that the main concern over the lockdown is human safety. However, a comparative analysis of government’s decision to completely ban boda-boda riders at the expense of omnibuses has a stinky irony at the brink. Think about this; a taxi is permitted to ferry about seven passengers, seated less than a meter from each other and wearing no protective attires at all – even drivers, most of them do not have masks and hand gloves. If the virus was viable under such a circumstance, this measure would rather help spread it and not the other way round. The boda-boda on the other hand, if restricted to a passenger per destination, is far more effective than the omnibuses as far as controlling the spread of covid-19 is concerned. Hopefully, this is something the government will have to look into, and revise.