Reforms on security guards laudable
After being forgotten for decades, the government has started paying attention to Kenyans working in the private security sector.
Private security officers play a key role in ensuring public safety and security which necessitates the urgency to integrate them into the national security infrastructure. But, first, there is a call to infuse professionalism in the sector. The security hiring firms must also endeavour to provide a conducive work environment.
Already, the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) has set the basic minimum monthly wages for all private security guards. Most security firms have welcomed the move and have started complying with the directive.
A number of government institutions have now complied with the basic minimum monthly wages for the guards, a mandatory requirement for all private security firms seeking to provide services.
Apart from the normal requirements used in determining the responsiveness or suitability of the firms like tax compliance, valid National Hospital Insurance Fund and NSSF compliance certificates, the firms are now required to provide a commitment letter confirming compliance of basic minimum wage as stipulated by the law.
The minimum pay is now Sh18,994 with a house allowance of Sh2,849.11 and overtime of Sh8,156.81, totaling to Sh30,000 per month. It is a fact that some security firms charge their clients more but end up paying their guards peanuts in order to increase the profit margin.
This is unacceptable. Any employer who remunerates guards below the mandated basic minimum shall be liable to a fine of Sh2 million.We are persuaded that the multi-pronged approach aimed at ensuring compliance and professionalism will improve the quality of services rendered.
Most institutions, for example, now insist that only tenderers that are responsive to all the requirements –including the pay -proceed to the next technical evaluation stage. The security firms must also submit a valid business permit, membership certificate of Protective Security Industry Association (PSIA), Kenya Security Industry Association (KSIA) or any other professional organization, whether local or international.
The PSRA has developed a standardised curriculum and made it mandatory for all guards to undergo training on security matters in an institution accredited by the Authority.
PSRA plans to register all security guards to prevent crime. The reforms are likely to inspire confidence in the sector wrongly perceived as a landing ground for failures.