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MEDIA RELEASE CONSECUTIVE TO THE CABINET MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2017

A Cabinet Meeting was held this Wednesday, February 15, 2017 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :

1. Draft Decree on the Establishment, Mandate, Composition, Organization and Operation of the Commission to draft amendments to the Constitution of the Republic of Burundi, presented by the Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals.

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 available and applicable within 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. Some of its provisions have become obsolete and no longer reflect the realities of the moment.

It should be recalled that, well before the end of the post-transition period, several socio-political actors and independent institutions, through various workshops, conferences and symposia, expressed the wish to see the Constitution revised and even submitted written proposals to the President of the Republic.

Moreover, the reports of various National Commissions such as the National Independent Commission on Human Rights (CNIDH), the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) and the National Commission for Inter-Burundian Dialogue (CNDI) among others also recommended the amendment of the Constitution.
Furthermore, at a workshop organized on 11 October 2016 in Gitega, the Leaders of Political Parties and the Political Actors of Burundi expressed this wish when they recommended, among other things, the setting up of a Commission to propose the amendments to the Constitution, which would take into account the findings of the Inter-Burundian Dialogue.

The need to harmonize with the texts of the East African Community to which Burundi belongs also militates in favor of the amendment of the current Constitution, bearing in mind that the latter itself specifies the procedure and modalities of its revision.

The present draft therefore proposes the setting up of a Commission composed of personalities from various backgrounds, whose task will be to inventory and analyze the various articles of the Constitution to be amended and to make proposals to the Government which would subsequently propose an amended draft Constitution.

The draft was adopted with minor editing.

2. Bill on the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the Financing Agreement No. D154-BI between the Republic of Burundi and the International Development Association for the Social Safety Nets Project (MERANKABANDI) signed in Bujumbura on 12 January 2017, presented by the Minister of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender.

In order to realize its commitment to fight against poverty and improve access to social services for the population, the Government of Burundi has taken several steps to achieve the objectives of the Vision 2025 and the Millennium Development Goals. It is in this context that it adopted in 2011 the National Policy of Social Protection. In this regard, Burundi has recently received funds from the World Bank, consisting of a grant of $ 40 million to support it through the Social Safety Nets Project.

This project called "MERANKABANDI" will provide regular and predictable cash transfers to households living in extreme poverty so as to support them in the self-development efforts. The project will initially cover the Ruyigi, Karuzi, Gitega and Kayanza Provinces.

The Bill was endorsed.

3. Bill on the Accession of the Republic of Burundi to the Convention (Final Acts) for the establishment of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization of 1994, presented by the Minister to the Presidency in charge of Good Governance and Privatization.

Burundi acceded to the Treaty establishing the East African Community on 18 June 2007 and became a full member on 1 July 2007.This community is endowed with bodies and institutions to make it work and to advance its integration agenda in order to achieve the objectives it has set itself. These institutions, including the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization, are governed by specific treaties or conventions that need to be ratified.

The ratification of this Convention is important because Burundi has negotiated and signed with the other member countries of the East African Community the new fisheries and aquaculture policy of Lake Victoria. One of the objectives of the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization is to strengthen cooperation among stakeholders, harmonize national policies for the effective use of fisheries and aquatic resources in the East African community, etc.

The bill was endorsed.

4. Bill on the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the Financing Agreement No. D 151-BI between the Republic of Burundi and the International Development Association for the Agro-Pastoral Productivity and Markets Development Project, additional financing (PRODEMA-FA) signed in Bujumbura on 12 January 2017, Presented by the Minister to the Presidency in charge of Good Governance and Privatization.

The Government of Burundi has obtained from the International Development Association an additional 25 million USD grant for the Agro-Pastoral Productivity and Markets Development Project (PRODEMA) with a view to increasing agro pastoral production in value chains targeted projects and the marketing of these productions for the period spanning between 2017 and 2019.

This funding comes to continue the activities carried out by the Project after exhausting the 43 million USD financing received for the period 2011-2016. The project aims to improve food security and nutritional status by increasing production, increasing household incomes and creating jobs in rural areas, as well as the access to markets for major local or regional consumption products. The Provinces of Bubanza, Bururi, Cankuzo, Kirundo, Makamba, Muramvya, Muyinga, Mwaro, Ngozi and Rutana will be covered by the Project.

The bill was endorsed.
5. Draft Ministerial Ordinance on the establishment and organization of the 2nd cycle of Higher Education in Burundi, presented by the Minister of Education and Scientific Research.

This draft ordinance comes to implement the law of December 2011 on the Reorganization of Higher Education in Burundi. By implementing this law, Burundi wanted to create a new legal framework to deal with the new dynamics of the creation of new universities, new training streams and new qualifications at national, regional and international level.

At the level of the East African Community, there is a desire to establish a common framework for Higher Education characterized by harmonized systems. To this end, it is essential to first establish its own standards and procedures at the national level in order to have a reference field. It is in the interest of meeting these objectives that this draft ordinance is proposed.

The draft was adopted with the recommendation to adapt education and training to the actual needs of the country.

6. Draft Contract for the Purchase of Electricity between REGIDESO and the Company CRD Holding AB from an 11 MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Rubira / Bubanza.

7. Draft Amendment to the Public-Private Partnership Agreement (PPP) between the Government of Burundi and GIGAWATT GLOBAL and the contract for the purchase of electricity between REGIDESO and the same company for the supply of electricity from a 7.5 MW photovoltaic solar power plant in Mubuga / Gitega, both items were presented by the Minister of Energy and Mining.

In order to make sufficient energy available and thus meet the objectives of development and diversification of economic activities in Burundi, the Government of Burundi has opened up the sector to the private investor through the introduction of attractive legislation.

CRD Holding AB is among those who have heard the call and has proposed to build an 11 MW Solar Photovoltaic Plant in Rubira in Bubanza Province. A contract will be signed with REGIDESO for the purchase and sale of the electricity produced by the plant.

With respect to the Draft Amendment to the Public Private Partnership Agreement between the Government of Burundi and GIGAWATT GLOBAL, it is necessary to adapt to the standard model contract developed after the signing of the contract between REGIDESO and GIGAWATT GLOBAL Company intervened on May 12, 2015.

Both drafts were adopted.

8. In the Miscellaneous, the Council exchanged information on various aspects of national interest including the worrying food situation in some parts of the country. The Council has been informed of the actions that are being taken to address the issue. It was recommended to reinforce the public awareness campaign in favor of a spirit of national solidarity through multiform support, including food support for the most needy and seed, especially at the moment when the growing season begins.

Done at Bujumbura, February 16, 2017

Philippe NZOBONARIBA
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-

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Commemoration of the 26th anniversary under the theme "Let us consolidate National Unity, a shield for sustainable peace and development"

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