A Cabinet Meeting was held this Thursday, June 08, 2017 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :
1. Bill amending Law No. 1/03 of 24 January 2013 pertaining to the tasks, composition, organization and functioning of the National Communication Council, presented by the Minister of Posts, Information Technologies, Communication and Media.
Law No. 1/03 of 24 January 2013 on the composition, organization and functioning of the National Communication Council deserves to be revised in order to better adapt some of its provisions to the current context of the Burundian media landscape, to the rapid development of the Information and communication technologies and to the phenomenon of globalization, whose effects also affect the field of communication.
The aim of this revision is therefore to include in the competence field of the National Communication Council new sectors which were not covered by the national media regulatory authority, such as on-line broadcasting, cinema, advertising and communication agencies.
The draft also contains changes and clarifications on the press cards, the requirements for obtaining them and details of the body responsible for granting them.
The bill was adopted with some enrichment.
2. Bill amending Law No. 1/15 of May 9, 2015 governing the Press in Burundi, presented by the Minister of Posts, Information Technologies, Communication and Media.
Law No. 1/15 of May 9, 2015 governing the Press in Burundi deserves to be modified in some of its provisions to resolve the shortcomings in terms of found needed for its implementation in particular with regard to the granting of the press card where, in addition to the professionals legitimately entitled to it, there are other categories of regular collaborators of the media or other assimilated or auxiliary fields who now practice without any form of professional card need it.
This Bill also responds to a continuing concern about the status of journalists where misunderstandings are always observed because of the absence of this card. Thus the draft gives more details on the conditions required to acquire it and the body responsible for granting it.
The project also incorporates certain areas that until then functioned without an appropriate legal framework, such as the cinema.
After discussions, the Council noted the complexity of this Bill, which has many implications, and has consequently set up a team that will analyze all its contours and rework it. It will be brought back within two months.
3. Draft Decree establishing and managing the ICT Universal Service Fund
in Burundi, presented by the Minister of Posts, Information Technologies, Communication and Media.
Universal Service is defined as the minimum set of defined services that is accessible to the population under affordable pricing conditions regardless of geographic location.
The Fund is intended to finance exclusively universal service activities and is expected to be financed mainly by contributions from operators and providers of electronic communications services up to 1% of their annual turnover excluding taxes, in addition to other resources, in particular the investments or the possible governmental subsidies.
Following discussions, the Council noted that the draft was not clear on the legal status of this structure and subsequently set up a team which would finalize it and bring it back to the Council of Ministers within a maximum period of one month.
4. Draft Ministerial Order on the Conditions of Production, Collection, processing and marketing of milk and milk products intended for human consumption, presented by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock.
Milk is a complete food, fragile because perishable, which requires treatment and conservation in very strict sanitary conditions, from the stable to the consumer. In Burundi, milk is distributed through formal and informal marketing channels. In the context of the informal market, it is directly delivered to local consumers and itinerant merchants, but its transport is a public health concern, especially since it is done on foot, by bicycle or by vehicles not adapted to transport milk.
Currently, the texts in force relating to the preparation and marketing of dairy products date back to 1963. These texts are no longer adapted to the current situation inasmuch as the appearance of certain bovine diseases in our country imposes great vigilance on the processes of transformation of the milk and its derivatives.
The present project therefore corrects these observed shortcomings, takes into account public health requirements and national socio-economic realities and complies with the standards of the East African Community in this respect.
After debate, the Council noted that the project required contributions from other stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Commerce. The text was returned for a broader consultation, it will be brought back to the next meeting of the Council of Ministers.
5. Ministry of Public Security Policy Paper 2017-2020, presented by the Minister of Public Security.
With a view to greater efficiency of public services, the Government has established a working system based on results-based planning. It is within this framework that the Ministry of Public Security has developed its first policy paper 2011-2015. The Ministry of Public Security has set its priorities for the next four years through a new policy paper for 2017-2020, after analyzing the current major challenges.
This paper is in line with the previous one and it is based on 10 strategic pillars, namely (1) planning and management of statistics, (2) capacity building, (3) strengthening integrity, (4) resource management and welfare ; (5) risk prevention and disaster management ; (6) combating crime and terrorism ; (7) combating the proliferation of small arms and light weapons (8) proximity police, (9) gender, (10) communication.
The Policy Paper was adopted after being enriched.
6. Draft Ministerial Ordinance establishing, Missions, Organization and Functioning of the National Youth Council, presented by the Minister of Education, and Scientific Research in lieu of the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.
The National Youth Council whose project proposes the creation is a national structure that will play an advisory role to the administration on all matters relating to the development of youth and an advocacy body for the various institutions.
After an analysis, the Council noted that the National Councils are exhaustively enumerated by the Constitution and that therefore the creation of the latter would be unconstitutional. The Council further noted that there is already a Youth Forum which is operational and should be strengthened should gaps occur.
7. Draft Ministerial Ordinance on the Regulation and Exploitation of the Drum at the national and international levels, presented by the Minister of Education, and Scientific Research in lieu of the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.
The Burundian Tambour is one of the pillars of the cultural identity of the People of Burundi, and it is already inscribed on the list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.
In order to protect this valuable Heritage, it is imperative to implement a Strategy of its promotion at national and international level by regulating its exploitation. The present draft therefore aims to better organize drum performances with the aim of better supervising drumming teams, protecting and ensuring a real promotion of the drum dance.
After discussion, the Council noted that the Tambour is indeed a cultural heritage that must be promoted, protected and monetized as other countries do in terms of their cultural elements.
A team has been appointed to reflect further on these aspects in order to improve this draft in order to achieve all these objectives. It will be brought back within a period not exceeding one month.
8. In the Miscellaneous section, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation informed the Council of his meeting with the Representative of the European Union in Burundi in the aftermath of the Government’s statement in response to the documents circulating, and pointing to the European Union in the financing of the instigators of the attempt to overthrow the institutions and the violence that Burundi has experienced since 2015.
The Council of Ministers has been informed that the Representative of the European Union has acknowledged the authenticity of the documents but that he indicated that the funding was part of the protection of human rights defenders. There is, however, a profound divergence between the European Union and the Government on the perception and the concept of human rights defenders, its scope of application, criteria on the choice of beneficiaries and non-beneficiaries of funding for civil society organizations registered in Burundi.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation has also indicated that other documents involving the European Union in the destabilization of Burundi continue to emerge as the days unfold.
• The Minister of the Interior and Patriotic Education informed the Council that community development works will be organized during the pupils’ summer holidays starting in July and asked the Members of the Government to assist in the supervision of the youth during their field visits.
• Finally, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism informed the Council that the 18th Jua Kali Fair of the EAC for the promotion of handicrafts will be held in Burundi in December 2017 and requested that all stakeholders in its preparation get busy to make it a success.
Done at Bujumbura, June 09, 2017
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-