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Lockdown: Companies, NGOs terminate services of private guards

Tiger security private guards. File Photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Private Security Organisations-PSOs are crying foul as more than 200 business companies including Non-Governmental Organizations-NGOs have terminated the services of private security guards because of Covid-19 lockdown.

Grace Matsiko, the chairman Uganda Private Security Association, said in their meeting held a few days ago, more than 100 companies indicated that they have received letters from their clients terminating the services.

Matsiko said all the companies that have cancelled contracts no longer have funds to pay for security services since they have been closed since last year. Most of the businesses that have cancelled services of security guards were involved in entertainment and leisure services.

President Yoweri Museveni has kept entertainment and leisure places such as bars, discos, clubs and concert venues under lock and key since March 18, 2020, in a bid to control the spread of Covid-19.

Away from clients who have terminated guard contracts with private security companies, other businesses have not paid for the services since last year. Matsiko said in the meeting some of the private security companies revealed that they were demanding over 800 million shillings from big construction companies in Kampala.

“Different companies are reporting various cases of customers failing to pay, also customers terminating services because they are out of operation. We are affected by Covid-19,” Matsiko said.

The security organizations say at least each of the more than 200 companies and NGOs that have cancelled guard service contracts owe them over three million shillings. For NGOs, the explanation is that they lost their funders commonly known as donors because of the Covid-19 lockdown that affected businesses worldwide.

By early 2020, there were 210 operational private security organizations in Uganda. Of these, 115 use firearms whereas the rest deploy their personnel with batons. The Private Security and Firearms Department of Uganda Police Force puts figures of people directly employed by the organizations to over 55,000. This includes guards, technical people such as IT personnel, managers and proprietors.

In addition to money challenges, Covid-19 has also affected several security guards. Last week, Matsiko said more than 100 guards were battling Covid-19 while 15 had succumbed to the pandemic.

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