By Our Security Correspondent

Close to 100 owners and managers of Private Security Organsiations (PSOs) have completed an intensive training in strategic leadership aimed at professionalizing the fast growing private security sector in Uganda.

Currently , under their mother  umbrella body ,  The Uganda Private Security Association (TUPSA)  there are over  320 Private Security Organizations (PSOs) registered in Uganda.

The Association that started in 1997- currently employs over 60,000 men and women majority of whom are youths drawn from various disciplines.

The Association, through its members, has immensely contributed to the country’s economic growth and development through payment of taxes and employment.

Mr. Grace Matsiko , the Chairman of TUPSA told ugandaupdatenews.com that-the association, through its members, has greatly contributed to the stability of the nation through the provision of auxiliary security services to detect, prevent and curtail criminal activities.

“We organized this training for the owners and top managers in our concerted effort to profesionalise our membership, ensure discipline and offer quality private security services for Ugandans. PSOs interface with the population across the country on a daily basis and are deployed at the last mile –which calls for regular training and proper coordination ,” Matsiko explained .

He called upon all PSOs to register and become members of TUSPA and pledged collaboration , cooperation and sharing of intelligence information with the national friendly forces .

Matsiko thanked President Yoweri Museveni and the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) led by the Director General ,Col. Charles Oluka and Deputy Director General Lt. Col. Emmy Katabazi, respectively,  for having allowed to conduct the training at the prestigious Institute of Security and Intelligence Studies which is an East Africa Community (EAC) Regional Center of Excellence .

The TUPSA members who attended the course called for an urgent review of the legal regime that governs the private security sector , to recognize TUPSA and its role by making it mandatory for all PSOs to become members for easy and effective supervision.

The members also want the leadership of the Uganda Police Force to elevate the PSOs department to the level of a directorate. “TUPSA should be considered as a member of the PSOs National Licensing and Regulations Committee.”

The participants also decried the “unfair tax levies” under a restrictive- current tax regime – which is not favourable for the growth of the Private Security Industry in Uganda. The tax burden placed upon PSOs on delayed payments greatly affects the capital base of various PSOs.

Currently, the Private Security Organizations are charged irregular and unfair levies for the key tools of trade e.g., Gun purchase permits increased from Ugx. 100,000 to Ugx. 1,000,000 per gun.

Relatedly, for every purchase of 100 live ammunition, PSOs are charged USD 50 for a purchase permit. This has affected organic growth and new business development.

Last week , the Inspector General of Police,  Martins Okoth Ochola suspended operating licenses of 39 private security companies for alleged failure to fulfill some or all the necessary conditions for license renewal last year as per Regulation 14(d) of the Police (Control of Private Security Organisations) Regulations 2013.

Some of the conditions the security firms failed to fulfill include provision of evidence of payment of gun licensing fees , gun rental fees, annual inspection of companies and NSSF certificate of clearance.

Matsiko said the suspension of the private security companies will create a security vacuum. “ This means that some places like hotels, banks , churches schools hospitals, roads under construction , petrol stations and key government facilities ,whose security was being provided by private security oragisations , will remain at the mercy of God.

Editor : msserwanga@gmail.com

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