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Private security firms warn of job cuts on license cancellations

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Firms offering private security services in the country have warned on pending job losses after nine companies had their operating licenses cancelled by the regulator.

The Professional Security and Safety Association of Kenya (PROSAK) and Protective Security Industry Association (PSIA) said the sudden cancellation of the licenses could see at least 20,000 jobs lost in the sector.

According to the associations, the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) cancelled operating licenses of the firms on February 5, 2024 without prior warning or any valid reasons even though the firms had previously passed through stringent vetting procedures and had been issued with 5 year operating licenses apart from 3 whose applications were being processed.

PSRA has issued a notice requiring all private security firms in the country to pay each guard a minimum of Ksh 30,000 per guard, a decision the association says was unjustifiable and would make their services unaffordable to many institutions.

The association says the new wage requirement would also result to guarding costs rise to Ksh 45,000 per day guard and Ksh 55,000 per night guard due to overtime, taxes and operational expenses. This would also mean clients would pay at least Ksh 100,000 per guarding station in a day.

“If the new minimum wage is implemented in its current form and with the current economic situation, it would lead to losses of between 500,000 and 700,000 jobs in the sector,” said the associations in a joint statement.

As a result the associations now fear the decisions to hike wages abruptly is likely to lead to a rampant increase in crime, theft, burglaries and robberies due to the sudden lack of manned physical security at premises across the country and as those now unemployed but having families to feed are forced to find ways to survive.

“The specific targeting of association leaders through a public office for not toeing an unknown agenda is an unwanted and unwelcome development. Diplomatic channels have been opened to try to resolve the existing stalemate while maintaining peace and stability across the nation,” they stated.

The private security sector in Kenya is estimated to be employing at least 1.2 million personnel.

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