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FKE appeals for reinstatement of licenses of 9 security companies cancelled by gov’t

Tuesday, March 5th, 2024 12:53 | By
FKE CEO Jacqueline Mugo
FKE CEO Jacqueline Mugo. PHOTO/@FKEKenya/X

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) has urged the government to reinstate the licences of nine security companies cancelled by the Private Security Regulations Authority (PSRA).

In a statement, FKE CEO Jacqueline Mugo urged PSRA to engage in a fair administrative process and comprehensive consultations in security sector reforms.

The Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) is deeply concerned over the recent decision by the Private Security Regulations Authority (PSRA) that has adversely affected the operations of several security companies. This has exposed the sector to severe job losses, business disruptions, and reputational damage,” Mugo stated.

“FKE strongly appeals for the immediate reinstatement of licenses for the 9 security companies whose licenses were summarily cancelled by the PSRA.”

According to FKE, the cancellation occurred without adherence to fair administrative processes enshrined in the constitution.

Mugo says there was no prior written notice, no opportunity for the companies to defend themselves, and no chance to address identified gaps before the licences were cancelled.

“This hasty decision has resulted in substantial losses for the affected companies, impacting the livelihoods of countless youth, and causing disruptions for clients who rely on these services,” she added.

FKE has also called for the suspension of the guard numbers order pending comprehensive consultations.

“It is crucial to determine whether the assigned numbers are a product of training and guard registration or if they stem from employment by a registered security firm or club. This clarity is vital for the industry's stability and the effective implementation of any related regulations,” she added.

“FKE advocates for the gazettement of revised regulations after conducting public participation in all counties. We recognize the potential challenges and propose a categorization of certain counties to streamline the process. Comprehensive public engagement ensures that the regulations reflect the needs and concerns of all stakeholders.”

FKE accuses PSRA of threats

FKE has also accused the PSRA executive of threatening the security firm’s clients based on contracting with unlicensed/unregistered service suppliers.

The process for licensing and registration must be streamlined by the PSRA board before any enforcement actions are taken. We advocate for social dialogue in the sector,” Mugo stated

“FKE emphasizes the urgent need for the activation of a wages council. The current payroll cost per guard raises significant concerns. We have appealed to the Ministry of Labor to review the 1998 Labour Minister order governing wages, and we await their guidance. FKE proposes a salary categorization based on competence and qualification to ensure fair compensation for security officers.”

This comes even as private security companies oppose some of the changes proposed by PSRA in the sector such as the guard numbers, which they say come at an exorbitant cost.

In a statement last week, the Protective and Safety Association of Kenya (PROSAK) and the Protective Security Industry Association (PSIA) vowed to seek legal avenues to stop the PSRA's minimum wage bill and illegal license cancellations, which they say poses a significant threat to the survival of many private security companies in the country.

"We would like to clarify that the Ministry of Labour, and not the PSRA, is responsible for adjusting wages. Any adjustments in wages must be gazetted by Labour CS Florence Bore, as stipulated under the Employment Act No 11 of 2007. CS Bore has already disowned the PSRA's illegal directive that requires private security firms to pay their guards a minimum salary of Sh30,000. The Ministry of Labour last amended wage adjustments in 2022 via Gazette Notice No 125," the two associations stated.

"The PSRA's cancellation of licenses for some private security firms was done without following the proper procedures outlined in the PSRA Act Articles 32 and 43, which require notice and appeal before taking such a drastic measure. This shows the PSRA's disregard for the law and demonstrates impunity."

Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) Director General Fazul Mohammed attaches a Guard Force Number on the uniform of one of the private security officers. PHOTO/Print
Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) Director General Fazul Mohammed attaches a Guard Force Number on the uniform of one of the private security officers. PHOTO/Print

PROSAK and PSIA announced that three of their members had already filed appeals with the Cabinet Secretary of Interior and Administration of National Government concerning the issues.

"While we agree that security guards deserve better pay, the current economic circumstances make it neither practical nor possible. Achieving this objective requires collaboration and sober input from all stakeholders to find a middle ground. Only a few companies can afford to pay higher salaries based on the financial muscle of their clients who are paying premium rates for specialized services, while many have been forced to either reduce their operations, lay off staff, and, in some cases, close down due to the weakened economy and increased taxes," the associations stated.

The associations estimate that job losses in the private security sector alone could hit between 500,000 and 700,000 due to the changes in factors fueled by punitive laws.

According to the latest Central Bank of Kenya Survey, the private sector plans to lay off 15% of its employees in 2024, which amounts to over 300,000 workers.

PSRA responds

On Tuesday, PSRA announced that it intends to publish a legal notice containing a list of security companies that have failed, declined, or otherwise neglected to submit their legal commitments to pay private security guards the government-set minimum wage of Ksh30,000.

"As at 5th March 2024, a significant number of private security companies have already submitted their legal commitment to pay the Government-set KES.30,000/= minimum wage for private security officers (security guards). Take note, Any company that fails to submit a duly signed legal commitment which forms part of the terms and conditions attached to its certificate of registration, shall be subjected to a regulatory audit review including a statutory review of its registration and licensing status in accordance with Section 32 the Act," PSRA stated.

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