A Cabinet Meeting was held on Friday 08 December 2017 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :
1. Bill on the Revision of Law No. 1/24 of 10 September 2008 pertaining to Burundi’s Investments Code, presented by the Minister to the Presidency in charge of Good Governance and Planning.
This Bill is an enrichment of the version that was adopted in 2015 but which the Government preferred to withdraw from the Parliament after noting that all the stakeholders including the representatives of the investors did not seem to have been associated in its drafting. This Bill therefore incorporates the relevant opinions and proposals of both public and private institutions involved in the granting and management of tax and customs incentives.
In addition, during the Government Retreat of April 2017, it was recommended among other things the revision of the legal framework on tax and customs incentives. That revision is therefore proposed in order to :
• Eliminate several texts for the same purpose, namely the promotion of investments ;
• To enlighten the users of the Investment Code on certain terms that are often interpreted differently according to the interests of each other ;
• To supplement the existing Code on the basis of good regional and international practices ;
• To introduce in the Investment Code the provisions relating to the rights and obligations of the investor to ensure transparency in the granting of the benefits of the Investment Code and thus remove the misunderstandings in the implementation of this law.
Following analysis, the Council has set up a team that will once again examine this Bill to ensure, among other things, criteria for choosing the sectors targeted to benefit from the advantages offered by the Code, as well as the relevance of the minimum amount of investment required to receive these benefits. The draft will be brought back within a month.
2. Draft Decree Authorizing the Government of Burundi to Participate to the share capital of the joint venture Tanganyika Mining Burundi "TMB sm" tasked with mining gold and associated ores of the Cimba deposit, presented by the Minister to the Presidency in charge of Good Governance and Planning in lieu of the Minister of Energy and Mining detained
By the Decree of October 12, 2017, a license to mine gold and associated ores was granted to the company Tanganyika Gold s.a on the deposit of Cimba, in the borough of Mabayi, Province Cibitoke. As part of the exploitation of mineral substances, the Burundi Mining Code provides for the creation of a joint venture to which the Government is a legal shareholder of at least 10% as owner of the land.
This joint venture was established on October 27, 2017 and bears the name of Tanganyika Mining Burundi "TMB s.m". The present draft thus completes the legal framework necessary for the existence of this company by requesting the Council of Ministers to authorize the Government to participate in the capital of this company as provided by the law. The share of the Government of Burundi will be 15% of the capital.
The draft has been adopted.
3. Draft Decree on the organization and functioning of the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), presented by the Minister of the Interior and Patriotic Education.
The Independent National Electoral Commission was set up by Decree No. 100/22 of 20 February 2009. Since then, this Decree has been the subject of several amendments, which means that one has currently to consult several texts at the same time. The proposed draft condenses in a single text all the changes made to make a single text to facilitate its operation when needed.
The other modification proposed by the draft concerns the term of office of the Independent Provincial Electoral Commissions and the Independent Municipal Electoral Commissions, which is now 12 months.
It turned out that this period may be short or long, depending on the poll to be held. The proposed project introduces a paragraph which states that "the term of office may be revised downwards or upwards depending on the poll to be held".
The draft has been adopted.
4. Draft Decree on the Declaration of Public Utility of the area proposed for the development of the Hydroelectric Power Plant KABU16 (20Mw), presented by the Minister of Water, Environment, Spatial Planning and Urban Planning.
Burundi suffers from a very large energy deficit. The current demand amounts to more than 90 MW while the total supply is around 60.82 MW from all sources. And it is to cope with this deficit that the Government has embarked on a vast program of construction of hydroelectric power plants including the KABU16 Hydroelectric Plant Project in Bukinanyana, Murwi and Buganda communes of Cibitoke Province, on Kaburantwa River, 16 km from its mouth with the Rusizi and which will have a power of 20 Mw.
The implementation of this project will be made possible through availing an area of 126.35 ha which spans across the three communes mentioned above and it is the object of this project which declares the site as being of public utility.
The project has been adopted.
5. Draft Joint Ordinance on the Missions, Composition and functioning of the Consultative Body of the Pre-cooperative Groupings, presented by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock.
The Law on the Organic Framework of the Pre-cooperative Groupings defines the latter as “structures organized lonely or in umbrella, managed democratically, made up of natural or legal persons who associate and decide to pool all or part of their resources and their efforts to carry out activities to meet the needs of their professions covering all development sectors of the country”.
This law provides for the establishment of this consultation structure responsible for coordinating the different interventions in terms of application for tax and other benefits, and this draft ordinance details the missions of this body, show how it is composed as well as its mode of operation.
The project has been adopted.
6. Note on the Safeguard Plan over the Assets and the activities devolved to IRAZ, presented by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock.
The Institute for Agricultural and Animal Research (IRAZ) created in 1976 by the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL), Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been experiencing serious operational difficulties for several years that paralyzed almost all the activities assigned to it.
This paralysis is mainly due to the civil wars which spared none of the three member countries particularly since the year 1993. The headquarters of the Institute being located on the Burundian territory, the authorities of the country feel currently challenged to try as much as to take responsibility for the recovery of the situation and the preservation of the IRAZ’s heritage, as well as the numerous research achievements that the Institute had achieved before it malfunctioned, without, however, violating Burundi’s commitments vis-à-vis other member countries.
While awaiting the normalization of the relations between the three countries and taking into account the state of this community wealth, it is the highest responsibility of the Government of Burundi to safeguard the IRAZ because if nothing is done, any responsibility will fall on the country for not having acted correctly at the right time in the interest of all the CEPGL in general and for that of Burundi in particular.
As a plan for safeguarding the assets and activities of IRAZ, the Note proposes the establishment of a permanent Interministerial Commission responsible for the implementation of the plan, the provisional takeover of technical and scientific activities by the Agronomic Sciences Institute of Burundi (ISABU) as well as the implementation of accompanying measures that will be implemented by different services under the supervision of the Commission. The Government of Burundi, meanwhile, will continue the diplomatic steps necessary for a normal resumption of activities of CEPGL and therefore of IRAZ.
The Council supported the proposed measures and called for their speedy implementation.
• The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock informed the Council of the recent visit by the World Bank Executive Director to Burundi, especially in the interior of the country in different provinces, and who acknowledged that the statistical data provided to the World Bank about Burundi are far below the reality witnessed on the ground, given the level of development that Burundi has achieved in terms of the quality of social infrastructure, especially housing in the countryside and elsewhere.
He urged his colleagues from different sectors not to limit themselves to the data of the Capital City Bujumbura but rather to privilege field visits within the country.
The same minister also informed the Council of a recent measure taken against two foreign NGOs suspending their activities on Burundian territory for serious breach of their obligations. This is the case of the NGO TUBURA for requesting supervision fees and fees on the rate of distribution of chemical fertilizers from the beneficiary populations while the supervision by the technicians of the Ministry is free and the fertilizers are subsidized by the Government.
The other measure concerns the NGO PRANA for having distributed to the population of its area of activities rotted and stale seeds of corn and beans. The Council recommended that before thinking any other measure towards the NGO TUBURA such as the possible lifting of its suspension, it would be necessary first that the NGO refunds trough the public treasury (the OBR), all the money unduly perceived.
For the NGO PRANA, which deliberately distributed rotten seeds and weevils to the population, the Council recommended indefinite suspension of its activities and the deportation of its leaders.
• The Minister of the Interior and Patriotic Education informed the Council that very soon the Campaign on the Constitutional Referendum will be launched and that the Ministers will be requested to relay the message to the Provinces under their supervision.
Done at Bujumbura, December 09, 2017
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-