The sudden cancellation of operating licenses of nine Private Security Companies puts in the line over 20,000 jobs in the sector, the Professional Security & Safety Association of Kenya and Protective Security Industry Association have warned.
On February 5, 2024, the Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) issued a legal notice cancelling the licenses of these companies without prior warning.
The companies had previously passed through stringent vetting procedures and been issued with five-year operating licenses apart from three whose applications were being processed.
The action comes in the wake of court battles and protests by security associations who did not agree with an earlier PSRA notice calling for a new minimum wage of Ksh30,000 per guard, which was later disowned by CS Labour Florence Bore.
The associations felt it would not be affordable to clients whose costs would then rise to Ksh45,000 per day guard and Ksh55,000 per night guard (due to overtime, taxes and operational costs), meaning that per guarding station the new 24-hour cost for Kenyans as clients would mount to Ksh100,000 per guarding post.
The associations say this would affect existing contracts which are being paid at much lower rates including through existing tendered contracts by government institutions.
Stakeholders estimate that 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.
“The massive churn and industry upheaval 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. An additional impact may be experienced in the health sector as those now without hope for a future paycheck fall into mental health issues that could lead to a spike in suicides, depression and chronic illness,” the associations said in a statement.
“Assumptions that other security companies will take up the slack are erroneous as for most organizations and institutions including resident associations the turnaround time for a new security provider is guided by a strict procurement process which takes weeks if not months for new appointments and contract signing. The net result is a more turbulent time for Kenyans who are already facing a harsh economic time as the government brings the hatchet down on some of the leading security companies.”