Clients defaulting payment – Security companies

Security guards with the private security company Saracen Uganda Ltd

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Private security companies in Uganda have expressed concern about failure by clients to remit their monthly fees.

Through their umbrella, the Uganda Private Security Association (TUPSA), managers of the various companies said it has become difficult for them to collect money to clear URA taxes and pay their guards.

Grace Matsiko, the TUPSA chairman said their clients have dodged payments for two to three months on grounds that their businesses were affected by the lockdown.

Matsiko said most of the private security organizations have received half or even less of their expected monthly collections. One company which preferred anonymity said it collects over 500 million shillings every month from its clients but it has only collected half of the amount in the last two months.

The businesses affected by the lockdown normally have one or two security guards during the day and night. These include cloth shops, hardware shops, furniture centres, bars, clubs, discos, betting and gambling shops.

Abbas Matende, the Blue Light security company managing director said their clients abruptly closed business but asked the company to continue offering services. Matende says people are not meeting the fees which has left them with no money to clear the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) taxes but also pay salaries to their personnel.

Vincent Seruma, the URA spokesperson, said as revenue authority they would not engage in discussions of clients not meeting their remittances to private security companies.

Seruma, however said owners and managers of private security companies could raise their concerns so that they can also benefit from extensions of filing tax returns that have been given to various businesses. Most companies are facing financial challenges ever since the government imposed a lockdown to curb Covid-19 spread.

Uganda has more than 250 private security companies with total personnel of over 55,000. The guards use firearms while others use batons. Uganda police records show there are more than 16,000 guns in the hands of private security companies.