Protective Security Industry Association (PSIA) is requesting the government for an extension on the compliance period given to private security firms from six months to three years to enable them comply with set regulations.
According to PSIA Chairman Cosmas Mutava, the Private Security Regulations 2019 requires all employees of private security providers to undergo mandatory training within six months.
“Sub regulation 19 requires every director, partner, trustee, administrator, management staff and employee of a private security provider to undergo such training within six months after gazettement of the Regulations,” said Mutava.
Mutava said that the six months are to lapse in December 2019, given that the regulations were gazzetted in July, adding that already, three months have lapsed leaving the security firms with only three months to comply.
“We find it difficult to train 500, 000 guards within six months noting that the curriculum is quite extensive and that there are very few institutions to conduct the training. We request for an extension on the PSRA compliance period to three years to allow the Private Security to adjust as per the regulations,” he said.
On the issue of arming of private security guards, Mutava said that there is need to amend PSRA Act 53 which prohibits use of firearms by private security providers in rendering their services.
“We propose an urgent amendment of section 53 and involvement of Private Security Sector and Private Security companies in recruitment, vetting, training and deployment. We call for discussion on the issue of armory, safety and the source of arms as purchasing or leasing from the government,” added Mutava.
Mutava who was speaking in Nairobi during the media briefing on private security Regulations further said that PSRA fees and licenses cost is not only high but also has too much duplication in the licensing cost for security provision business.
“We need the government to understand the guarding service providers and the daily challenges faced. The guarding business scene is scary. The industry is very different from manufacturing, construction and others as security is labour intensive,” emphasized Mutava.
Mutava added that the PSRA board representation from small or large constituencies were good but interpretation of numbers in the small and large Private Security firms needs to be clarified.
“We propose that small means employees with less than 2, 000 employees while large to mean above 2, 000 employees,” added Mutava.
Mutava also requested that the tax proposal included in the services to be subjected to the application of presumptive withholding tax in the Finance Bill 2019/2020 needed to be reconsidered since it would have huge ramifications to the sector if approved.
“We are therefore calling for a reconsideration of this proposal as it will increase the cost of doing business which will result in salaries and wages delays. We recommend for the exclusion of security services from the expanded services that will be subjected to the payment of withholding taxes,” said Mutava.
PSIA Secretary to the Executive Committee Annette Kimitei said that six months is inadequate to equip the control room, buy and improve security equipment, additional licenses and uniforms.
She added that there was need to increase the compliance period from the current six months to three years to streamline the security sector in the country.