A Cabinet Meeting was held on Wednesday 19, July 2017 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :
1. Bill on the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the Agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments and the Convention for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with Respect to Taxes on Income signed on February 6, 2017, between the Government of the Republic of Burundi and the Government of the United Arab Emirates, presented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and Privatization
These two Conventions have been signed with a view to promoting economic cooperation and ensuring the protection of reciprocal investments between the Government of the Republic of Burundi and the Government of the United Arab Emirates.
Both legal instruments are important in establishing a legally secure investment framework that can stimulate trade initiatives and increase the level of trade and capital mobility between the two countries. The double taxation convention and the prevention of tax evasion on income tax were signed with the Government of the United Arab Emirates.
This convention, which is in conformity with the United Nations model, subject to adjustments linked to the specificities of the laws of the two States, will make it possible to provide answers to conflicts that would be linked to the criteria for designating the tax residence or the source of taxable income.
The bill was adopted.
2. Draft Joint Ministerial Order to Amend Joint Ministerial Order No 540/530/1644 of 7 October 2014 determining the commercial establishments subject to the obligation to insure civil liability of commercial operators for fire or explosion, presented by the Minister of Finance, Budget of Privatization
The promulgation of the law of January 2014 on the Insurance Code in Burundi made mandatory certain insurances including insurance of civil liability of the commercial buildings for fire or explosion in order to protect the people attending these places.
As part of the implementation of this Code, an Order was signed in October of the same year determining the commercial establishments subject to this obligation. Nevertheless, the application of this order has revealed certain shortcomings linked to the incompleteness of the list of persons liable to this obligation and to the vagueness surrounding the policyholder between the owner of the property or the operator and the draft proposes solutions to these questions.
The draft was adopted with minor amendments.
3. Draft Ministerial Ordinance defining criteria of eligibility to the rank of Priority Enterprise for the National Economy, presented by the Minister of Finance, Privatization Budget
Since 2009, Burundi has adopted a new Investment Code to promote investment in order to support economic activity. Determined to ensure the monitoring and evaluation of the use of the advantages granted to investors and not to repeat the mistakes of the past where some companies have diverted the advantages granted under the Investment Code or have never been operational, the Law of December 2016 fixing the General Budget of the State for the 2017 financial year scraped the VAT on import which was the main incentive to attract investors.
However, the same Law gives the prerogative to the Minister in charge of Finance to grant exemption of VAT on import to companies deemed to be priority or strategic for the national economy and this project details the eligibility criteria for the Priority Enterprise ranking eligible for this VAT exemption.
The project was adopted with further contributions.
4. Bill on the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the Concessional loan Agreement for the implementation of the Migration to Digital Television Broadcasting Project in Burundi, presented by the Minister of Posts, Information Technologies, Communication and Media.
The shift from the Analog Broadcasting System to the Digital System is a global agenda. Under the auspices of the International Telecommunication Union, it was agreed that this shift should take place on June 17, 2015. It was found, however, that most African countries, including Burundi, could not meet this requirement.
Burundi has therefore adopted a decree organizing the transition from analogue to digital, which provides for the creation of a company responsible for the execution of this program. It is in this context, therefore, that a society called "Digital Television Company of Burundi" was created between the Chinese company Star Times Network Technology Co. Ltd. and the Government of Burundi represented by Radio Television National of Burundi (RTNB) in acronym.
The US $ 32.6 million loan the Government of Burundi requested from EXIM BANK of China, granted at an interest rate of 2% per annum with management fees equivalent to 0.5% of the amount of the credit over a period of 20 years with a grace period of 5 years will be handed over to Digital Television Company of Burundi responsible for the execution of this program and which will also be responsible for the repayment of this loan.
The bill was adopted.
5. Draft Decree on the Reorganization of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, presented by the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.
This draft decree replaces the one of November 2005 organizing the Ministry of Youth and Sports in order to take into account the changes that have taken place since that period to this day. It takes into account the Culture sector which was under the supervision of the Ministry of Education by the Decree of 2005, and whose structure has changed to date.
The draft also reflects the spirit of the Decree of September 2015 establishing the structure, functioning and missions of the Government of the Republic of Burundi, while taking into account the new structures that have been put in place for the implementation of the Government’s policy on youth, sports and culture.
The draft was adopted with minor amendments.
6. Draft decree for the Granting of a Research Permit for Gold and associated minerals on the Muhwazi perimeter in Muyinga Province to African Mining Limited company, presented by the Minister of Energy and Mining.
ESS International under British law applied for a permit to search for gold and associated minerals on the Muhwazi perimeter in Muyinga Province, which had previously been subject to the same activities by Flemish Investments Limited and BUMINCO that subsequently withdrew.
To be granted a mining research permit, the Mining Code of Burundi requires companies to establish headquarters in Burundi before the permit is issued. Therefore, in order to comply with this legal requirement, the company has set up a subsidiary of Burundian law known as African Mining Limited. The complete application for a research permit was therefore filed in April 2017 and African Mining Limited undertook to strictly comply with the Burundi Mining Code, with a research permit being granted for a period of three years and can be renewed twice for a period of two years each time.
The draft was adopted.
In the Miscellaneous, the members of the Government were invited to launch field visits in the provinces under their supervision during two weeks, starting from July 20, 2017 to participate in the supervision of the pupils busy with community development works during the summer holiday period, a policy framework for patriotic education, awareness of rampant demography and pregnancy in schools.
It will also be an opportunity to listen to the public, in order to collect the various concerns and to provide answers on the expectations.
Done at Bujumbura, July 20, 2017
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-