Still in its infancyGiving security to the private sector [Archives:2003/686/Business & Economy]

November 17 2003

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly
Providing security and a stable investment climate remains a priority of the Yemeni government. This is in response to security threats in the country. The state has therefore worked for intensifying programs and training in military units The state managed to regain its control by curbing terror and offering security services to trade and banking sectors.
By engaging the private sector in working in security services to non-governmental institutions, the government was hoping to realize the integration and coordination among security bodies and armed forces and private security companies, in order to re-instate security confidence across Yemen.
The experiment seemed important in having private companies for security, and providing job opportunities, while offering services to citizens and foreign tourists such as banks, hotels, companies and hospitals and private universities.
Private security guard companies prepared individuals and train them, contracting with them in return for monthly salaries paid to their employees not exceeding 80 dollars for a guard. Security companies were offering several jobs subject to the nature of contracting by the parties requesting the service.
The most important one is keeping security, monitoring cameras, emergency and early warning equipment and barbed wires. The job also includes companies working in vitally important places such as minerals.
In addition, there is the accompanying of foreign tourists and very important political and parliamentary personalities. Youth in possession of university degrees or secondary school graduates find opportunities in being recruited to companies offering security services that focus mainly on getting financial profits, as they are considered as trading investment companies offering service to their clients. Profit is their first interest and comes before the security duty. And this is the most outstanding of their defects.
Employees prepared for doing the jobs in those companies are given various training courses, mainly the English language, in order to be able to communicate with foreigner tourists. Other courses are on fire fighting, medical aid, self-defence and physical fitness to encounter with emergency events.
Owners of tourist agencies view that the experiment of guarding service companies gives foreigners a good impression of security and an ability to communication with them, unlike members of official security authorities that are most times not given training in the English language.
Employees at those companies confirm that those contracting for demand of this guarding service find the confidence in their being guarded away from problems they might face with citizens and tourists. Consequently this increases the proportion of those dealing with such companies due to the good reputation enjoyed by the guards.
The experiment in Yemen is still in its beginning. Some companies offering security have emerged and disappeared after a short while because requirements of their services needed a huge financial asset to be invested.
This does not mean that government security bodies are incapable of carrying out their tasks, but it is meant to give opportunities to the private sector to play its part in keeping social security.