Private security companies hope a law to regulate the industry will be enacted later this year to ensure better services to clients and the general public.
Tanzania Security Industry Association (TSIA) Secretary General, Isaya Maiseli said in Dar es Salaam last week that the sector which employs over two million people with more than 400 private companies engaged in guarding, cash transit, sniffer dogs and escorts, has been without a legal framework since its liberalisation in mid-1980s.
"Since former IGP Philemon Mgaya agreed to liberalise this sector in 1980s, there has been no legal framework to regulate the industry," said Mr Maiseli who is also founder of Tanzania Private Security Companies Association in 1999, which later changed in TSIA in 2004. Inspector General of Police Mgaya retired in late 1980s.
Mr Maiseli said TSIA has already submitted a draft proposal of the law to the Ministry of Home Affairs for incorporation in a Private Security Bill to the Parliament this year after formulation of a policy last year. "Under IGP (Said) Mwema and Minister (Shamsi Vuai) Nahodha, we are making good progress towards adopting a law to regulate the industry which is very important to the country's economy," Mr Maiseli noted.
Home Affairs Minister, Mr Nahodha told the 'Business Standard' recently that he has already directed technocrats at his ministry to ensure that the draft bill is ready as early as possible. "I am committed to see the law enacted by Parliament this year," Mr Nahodha who has already visited several private security companies in Dar es Salaam and condemned hiked fees charged for services such as emergency fire extinguishing, said.
Among the more than 400 security companies are multi-national corporations one of which is London listed G4S Security Services Tanzania Limited. The company which employs over 1,800 people offers unique services such as cash management for clients.
"It's difficult for us to compete in a non- regulated market because some companies offer services at very low prices because clients in Tanzania are less concerned with security," said Jacqui Bothma, G4S Security Services Tanzania Limited Managing Director.
Ms Bothma who comes from South Africa said private security in her home country is highly regulated because security is a big business in South Africa due to higher crime rate. "In Tanzania the risk is not high and so people consider having a guard at their gate as enough security," said Bothma.
She said her company which does very little in terms of manning gates, deals in sophisticated products such as cash-in-transit, journey management, CCTV monitoring of premises, sniffer dogs and payments on behalf of clients. With offices in Arusha, Dar es Salaam, Mbeya, Mwanza and Mtwara, G4S is part of UK based G4S Plc which has presence in 60 countries including 30 in Africa and employs over a half a million people.
The company has won the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games official security service provider. "This is a great achievement and one we have been working on since 2005, when G4S Secure Solutions UK started preparing its strategic plan for the event, following the International Olympic Committee's announcement that the London bid had been successful," wrote Nick Buckles who is G4S Plc Chief Executive Officer.