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MEDIA RELEASE CONSECUTIVE TO THE CABINET MEETING HELD ON FRIDAY 24TH OF NOVEMBER 2017

A Cabinet Meeting was held this Friday, November 24, 2017 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :

1. Draft Joint Ordinance laying down the terms and conditions of granting,
withdrawal, renewal and repayment of the loan-grant and the scholarship of excellence, presented by the Minister of Education and Scientific Research.

This draft comes in connection with the decree of February 2017 reorganizing the management system for scholarships and internships.
It also embodies a recommendation of the Education Symposium of December 2014 to review the management system of the scholarship by introducing the system of loan-scholarship to adapt in particular to regional and international practices in the field of Higher Education, Burundi being the only country in the world that still grant free scholarships to students.

As a reminder, a loan-grant is understood as financial assistance granted under contract, by the Government in the form of interest-free loan, for the training of executives and which is repayable. It is awarded to the laureates of the general pedagogical, technical and post-basic humanities who have successfully passed the national examination.

This loan-grant system will allow more students to access higher education because even those who were limited by the lack of resources because they are from poor families will now have the opportunity to access it.

The Excellence Scholarship is a financial assistance provided by the Government to encourage the best laureates in the general pedagogical, technical and post-basic education and is generally non-refundable except under certain conditions.
This draft therefore specifies the terms and conditions of granting, withdrawal, renewal and repayment of these facilities granted and also specifies the amounts to be granted.
The draft was adopted with some amendments.

2. Modernization and Extension Project of the International Airport of
Bujumbura and the Construction of the Aerodrome of Kabamba + Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Burundi and China Communications Constructions Company Ltd (CCCC), presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works and Equipment.

Bujumbura International Airport is and remains an infrastructure of national sovereignty with a strategic character for the country. Yet this airport is facing challenges, in the face of increased traffic and safety and security requirements, the current infrastructure, facilities and airport installations are no longer in line with international standards as recommended by the International Organization of Civil Aviation.

Indeed, air traffic has increased because the number of passengers has increased from 60,000 per year in 2001 to 240,000 in 2014. The Government is therefore supposed to make it modern and competitive at the sub-region level.

It is therefore proposed that the work relates to the rehabilitation of the movement area (airstrip, taxiways and aircraft parking), the construction and equipping of a new control tower and the construction and equipment of a new passenger terminal.

To implement this project, the Government could resort to concessionary loan with low interest rates through technical assistance provided by China Communications Constructions Company Ltd (CCCC) and financial assistance from the Government of the People’s Republic of China through the Financing agreement to be signed with EXIM BANK.

With regard to the Kabamba airfield in Gashikanwa Commune, which the Government is planning to build, it is of security importance inasmuch as it could serve as an alternate airport for small and medium-haul aircraft in the event of difficulties at the airport of Bujumbura. The land necessary for its construction has already been delimited.

The company CCCC is developing the related technical pre-feasibility studies and is committed to mobilizing the necessary financing for the construction of this aerodrome and this is the subject of the Memorandum of Understanding submitted to the Council for approval to allow the start of detailed studies for its second phase implementation.

The Council approved both projects and requested to continue and accelerate their implementation.

3. Note on the situation of rent arrears payable to the Government, presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works and Equipment.

The Government has a real estate patrimony spread throughout the national territory and its management especially in terms of rental remains unclear, given that some managers are autonomous while rents are managed in a decentralized manner.

As the management of rents collected by the government is not centralized and therefore not efficient, the consequence is that the Government’s assets are poorly maintained while a portion of rents could contribute to its maintenance.

Until June 2017 the arrears of rents due to third parties by the Government were estimated at more than 13 billion while those due to the Government by third parties are of the order of 3 billion, this difference being the result of derisory prices for which the buildings belonging to the State are rented, at the moment when those occupied by the Government entities are rented at exorbitant prices.

The note gives proposals for the clearance of rent arrears for buildings rented by the Government but also proposals for the recovery of rent arrears on buildings belonging to the Government or companies whose the Government is shareholder rented by private individuals.

To reduce the rental charge of the Government, the note proposes among other strategies to house the services of the various departments within some Government buildings where it is possible and to build administrative and residential buildings belonging to the Government.

The Council took careful note of the proposals made and recommended that the rate of rent received by the Government on its buildings be reviewed very quickly and that the contracts in force be adjusted to bring them into line with the rate set for houses the Government rents from third parties ; and this must be completed within a period not exceeding three weeks.

4. Note on the establishment of a Youth Bank, presented by the
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.
Burundian youth faces numerous life challenges. These are related to the demographic structure, the underemployment, and the problem of access to the existing financial system. The project to create a Youth Bank originates from the Government’s commitment to support Socio-Economic Youth Projects, in order to provide a lasting solution to the many problems young people are faced with.

The presented Note proposes that the Bank be made of a mixed capital where the Government and its entities hold at least 60% of the capital valued at about 60 billion FBU.

The council took note of the note’s content and recommended the continuation of its study, making sure that the interest rates are the lowest possible.

5. Draft Decree extending the term of office for the members of the
Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), presented by the Minister of the Interior and Patriotic Education.

The present draft is proposed pursuant to the Decree of March 2012 on the organization and functioning of the National Independent Electoral Commission which stipulates that "In case of necessity, the mandate of the members of the National Independent Commission in place may be extended for a period of not exceeding six months. Indeed, with regard to the current CENI’s program of activities, this extension is imperative.
The Draft has been endorsed.

6. Information Note over the signing of the Agreements for
RUZIZI III Electricity Project (147 MW) in Public-Private Partnership, presented by the Minister of Energy and Mining.

The RUZIZI III Community Hydroelectric Project (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda) with a projected power of 147 MW is located on the Rusizi River, 8 km from the common border between Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, from the Ruhwa Border Post.
This project completes the Rusizi waterfall upstream of which are already located two hydroelectric plants namely Ruzizi I and Ruzizi II belonging respectively to SNEL / DRC and SINELAC / CEPGL and soon another Ruzizi IV community hydroelectric power station on cards. .

This Note describes the Developer / Investor who is the Industrial Promotion Services Consortium of Kenya (IPS Kenya) and SU Power / Norway under the Public-Private Partnership.

The note also describes the project agreements that will be signed between the investor / developer and the partner states on December 7, 2017 in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the financing structure, and the question of the optimization of the power plant as well as the risk-sharing analysis to be supported by the Developer / Investor, States and consumers.

Among the rights and obligations of the Government of Burundi and its buyer (REGIDESO) in the implementation of the project agreements, there is in particular the constitution of the government guarantee to cover the default of its buyer and the guarantee of REGIDESO for the payment of purchased electricity.
This is why a prior agreement of the Government is required before the signature of the project agreements.

The Council has given its consent.

In the Miscellaneous, the Minister of Education and Scientific Research informed the Council that there are still schools that charge parents school fees while the latter has been removed at the Basic School. The Council requested the Administration’s collaboration to identify those who charge them for punishment.

Done at Bujumbura, November 25, 2017

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

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