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28.04.2008 Business & Finance

Interior Ministry takes on private security firms

By Daily Graphic
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The Ministry of the Interior has given a two-week ultimatum to all private security organisations to regularise their operations or face prosecution.

It said while some of them had failed to renew their licences, others had no licences to operate.

The Minister of State at the ministry, Nana Obiri Boahen, told the Daily Graphic that the ministry had decided to clamp down on security organisations that refused to operate within the confines of the law.

Apart from not renewing their licences annually, he said, some of them had also defaulted in their Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Value Added Tax (VAT) and National Health Insurance Levy (NHIL) obligations to the state.

He therefore urged them to regularise their operations or face sanctions.
Nana Boahen conceded that the ministry had not been hard on the organisations, as a result of which some of them had taken issues for granted.

He said the ministry had, therefore, decided to put the searchlight on them to bring sanity into their operations.

He appealed to user organisations of the security organisations to seek clearance from the ministry before engaging their services.

Outlining the procedure for the acquisition of licences, Nana Boahen after a Company had submitted completed application forms, the Minister of the Interior directed the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to vet it and its directors.

He said if a positive report was received from the BNI, the minister sent the report to the National Security Secretariat for comments, after which he sent a memo to the Chief Director of the Ministry of the Interior authorising the granting of the license, which he said was renewable annually.

Nana Boahen said even though the security organisations were helping with the protection of lives and property, it was wrong for them to operate without license or expired ones.

On the low remuneration paid to the security guards by their employers, he said there was very little the ministry could do, saying it was a management and staff problem.

He said if the staff were dissatisfied with their service conditions, they could take the matter to the National Labour Commission or the appropriate place for redress.

The clampdown of private security organisations comes in the wake of poor remuneration and working conditions for security guards.

A number of the security guards from various organisations in Accra who spoke to the Daily Graphic, complained about poor conditions and salaries, lack of facilities and motivation from their management.

They are paid between GHc50 and GHc130 per month, depending on the organisation one worked with and the number of years spent. They claimed that their poor working conditions and salaries did not only impact on their service delivery but also their emotions.

While conceding the low salaries, the President of the Association of Private Security Organisations of Ghana (APSOG), Nana Edu Agyeman IV explained that the salaries were based on the amount their clients paid them and other factors.

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