A Cabinet Meeting was held this Wednesday, November 16, 2016 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :
1. Note on the establishment of the Commission to study the amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi, presented by the Minister of Interior and Patriotic Education.
The Constitution is the fundamental law of the Republic of Burundi and, as such, it is a legal norm superior to all other legal norms established and applicable in the national legal order.
The current Constitution was promulgated on 18 March 2005 after a referendum and was intended to govern and establish the rules for the functioning of the post-transition regime, which ended with the organization of the 2010 general elections.
As such, some of its provisions have become obsolete and no longer reflect the realities of the moment.
Long before the end of the post-transition period, a number of socio-political actors and independent institutions, through various workshops, conferences and symposia, expressed the wish to see the Constitution revised and even sent some written proposals to the President of the Republic.
Reports from various commissions, including the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), the Independent National Commission on Human Rights (CNIDH), and the National Commission for Inter-Burundian Dialogue (CNDI) also recommended the amendment of the Constitution.
More recently, the leaders of political parties and political actors in Burundi expressed this wish at a workshop organized for them on 11 October 2016 in Gitega, when they recommended, among other things, the establishment of a Commission to propose the Amendment of the Constitution, taking into account the results of the ongoing Inter-Burundian Dialogue.
The note refers to some provisions of the Constitution in force, in particular articles 297, 298 and 300, which specify the procedure and the modalities of its revision. In addition, some other provisions of the Constitution require harmonization with the texts of the East African Community.
The Commission will therefore have the task of inventorying and analyzing the various articles of the Constitution to be amended and making the proposal to the Government and, with the latter’s agreement, propose an amended draft Constitution.
The note was adopted.
2. Bill to ratify the Protocol amending the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, presented by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism.
This protocol was officially opened for acceptance on 27 November 2014 and will allow including the Agreement on Trade Facilitation in the Marrakesh Agreement establishing the World Trade Organization.
The negotiations on trade facilitation began in July 2004 with a mandate to clarify and improve several articles of the General Agreement on Customs Tariffs and Trade of 1994 in order to expedite the movement, release and clearance of Goods, including goods in transit. At the end of the negotiations, the members of the World Trade Organization concluded the Agreement on Trade Facilitation in 2013.
After analysis, the Council considered it necessary to ensure first of all the advantage that Burundi will take from this Protocol before adhering to it. A Commission has been established for this purpose and the project will be brought back within two months.
3. Bill establishing the General Budget of the Republic of Burundi for the Financial Year 2017, presented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and Privatization.
The Finance Bill 2017 intervenes in an international environment characterized by economy recovery but remains exposed to old and new contradictions that could attenuate the growth. This would reach 3.2% by the end of 2016 to reach 3.5% by 2017. This global economic growth would be driven by the economies of the emerging countries.
At the national level, the Government is preparing the draft budget for 2017 in a difficult economic context ; hence austere management will be required.
For the year 2017, the fiscal policy that will be pursued will consist in continuing the effective implementation of the reforms already undertaken to increase the recovery of internal resources as well as the external ones. These resources will be oriented in priority sectors of growth (agriculture, energy and mining, transport etc.), the social sectors (education, health, social affairs, etc.) and of course in the area of security and defense and other sectors necessary for the development of the country.
In order to increase revenues, the Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR) will continue and undertake some actions such as broadening the tax base, combating fraud, strengthening the collection of arrears, and Control of exemptions.
For the year 2017, the overall resources of the General Budget of the State are estimated at FBU 1,152.7 billion against FBU 1,119.6 in 2016, meaning an increase of 2.9%. Expenses will rise from FBU 1,260.6 billion in 2016 to FBU 1,326.7 billion in 2017, an increase of 5.2%.
The overall deficit of the 2017 General Budget amounts to FBU 174 billion against FBU 140.7 billion in 2016 which will be balanced by domestic and external financing.
After a thorough debate on this bill, the Council adopted it with the recommendation that for those who have adjustments to propose within their budgets, they should forward them to the Minister in charge of Finance as soon as possible.
4. Draft decree revising Decree No. 100/306 of 21 November 2012 on the establishment, missions, organization and functioning of the National Women’s Forum in Burundi, presented by the Minister of Social Affairs, Human Rights and Gender.
Decree No. 100/306 of 21 November 2012 on the creation, missions, organization and functioning of the National Women’s Forum in Burundi stipulates that the mandate of the members of this Forum is two years renewable once. It turns out that this period is short in relation to the mission devoted to this framework, which is called upon to draw up an action plan, to implement it and to steer its evaluation.
The draft proposes to extend the term of office of the members of the Forum, which will enable them to implement their action plan at the same time as it specifies the modalities of replacing a member faced with the Impossibility to fulfill their mandate, on which the current decree was silent.
The draft was adopted with a few minor amendments.
5. Note on State arrears to the REGIDESO, presented by the Minister of Energy and Mining.
This Note indicates that as of October 25, 2016, the unpaid debts owed by the Government and the Customized Administrations of the Government towards the REGIDESO amounted to FBU 32,605,248,933, which undermines the Company In the accomplishment of its mission.
The Note proposes that the budget estimates of the ministries and the Customized Administrations of the Government should take into account their actual consumption, incorporate these unpaid amounts into the budget estimates for the financial year 2017 and proceed with the systematic installation of the Prepayment Meters for water and electricity in all the government owned buildings.
In the absence of being able to clear all the arrears, the Council requested that the Prepayment Meters for water and electricity be generalized in the buildings sheltering the services of the government so as not to continue to increase the dept and to not allocate the budget voted for Water and electricity to other purposes. The Prepayment Meters for water and electricity should also be generalized in households both in the Capital and in the other corners of the country.
In the Miscellaneous, members of the Council exchanged various information about national life. The Minister of Finance spoke about the new phenomenon of cyber crime, the fraud being done by creating fake face book pages for the personalities targeted. The Council recommended the Minister of Public Security and the Minister in charge of Communication to examine the issue.
It was also recommended to continue the collective solidarity action of collecting food to help the population of Kirundo currently faced with scarcity of food.
Done at Bujumbura, November 17, 2016
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.