Following a- two day Government Retreat held in Gitega from 19 to 20 December 2017, a Council of Ministers was held in the same district on 21 December 2017, under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre NKURUNZIZA, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :
1. Draft Ministerial Ordinance regulating the probation period, presented by the Minister of Public Service, Labor and Employment
The probation period is a period during which the newly recruited employee must learn the conditions of work, the requirements of his future job and thus acquire a sense of public service. The probationary period is intended to confirm the trainee’s intellectual and professional abilities, to train him/her in the requirements and knowledge of the public administration.
Staff in the Collaborative and Execution category do practical work placements at their duty stations, while those in the Executive category do so at two levels, namely at the ENA for training aspects and at their duty stations for practical aspects.
This internship at ENA has many challenges related to the fact that the probationary officials do not have enough skills about public administration as well as the lack of adequate supervision, but also due to the absence of the compulsory nature of the probationary period, the trainee does not feel obliged to participate in these courses.
It is to remedy these challenges that the present project integrates the constraining aspect of the probationary period.
The Draft was adopted with some amendments.
2. Note on the Construction Project of the National Data Center (Big Data), presented by the Minister of Posts, Information Technologies, Communication and Media.
Big Data refers to data sets that have become so large that they go beyond intuition and human analytical skills, and even those of traditional IT tools for information database management. Thus, the National Data Center is a base that centralizes information and data from the different institutions of the country.
Burundi has a strong basic information and communication technology infrastructure, including the fiber optic network, which serves almost all provinces, the existence of several public or private telecommunications companies that can offer services all over the country, etc.
However, Burundi faces a crying need for the development of applications and their integration to effectively put these potentialities at the service of the country’s development. This project responds to this challenge.
This project will be implemented by a Chinese company called China Electrics Import and Export Corporation (CEIEC). It should be noted that this project had been analyzed by the Council of Ministers and returned for enrichment.
The Note has been adopted with some adjustments with the recommendation to make every effort to ensure that the Project proceeds as quickly as possible, as it incorporates data related to the issuance of the National Biometric Identity Card.
3. Draft Decree on the regulation of the defense of interests of the State and the Communes, presented by the Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals.
The defense of the interests of the State and the Communes is regulated by Decree No. 100/58 of April 4, 2016 revising Decree No. 100/365 of December 28, 2006. It turned out that even if the interests of the State and the Communes are currently well defended, those of the public institutions and the personalized administrations of the State are less so because they disburse large sums for the fees paid to private lawyers whose benefits escape a strict and prudent evaluation, where it is observed losses of the majority of the lawsuits sometimes in an inexplicable way with the condemnation of the Establishments where the State has its interests to pay amounts sometimes exorbitant being an inevitable consequence.
State lawyers offer an alternative of a very good service today because of the mechanism put in place for the supervision, monitoring and control of their services. The present project thus extends the mission of the State Lawyers to the defense of the interests of the public entities, personalized administrations, mixed companies or any entity where the interests of the State are at stake subject to take charge of the administration costs of their litigation. These fees are used to cover the costs of communication, travel, research and documentation for the preparation of the file.
The project was adopted with some amendments.
4. Draft Security Cooperation Agreement between the Government of Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Republic of Burundi, presented by the Minister of Public Security.
Cooperation in development and in all areas in general is of paramount importance because unity is strength. This is why security agreements with new partners in addition to traditional partners are more than necessary, especially at a time when terrorist acts and cross-border crimes are proliferating around the world.
In the context of the diversification of its security partners, Burundi wants to develop its cooperation relations with Turkey in key areas and in the field of security, especially since (1) Turkey is ranked among the emerging countries, (2) it is advancing in the fields of research, economics, ICT and security, (3) Burundi is part of the International Association of Police Academies whose head office is in Turkey.
The project has been adopted.
5. Protocol of financial assistance between the Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Republic of Burundi, presented by the Minister of National Defense and Veterans Affairs.
The Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Government of the Republic of Burundi want to strengthen military cooperation in their friendly relations and contribute to the development of the National Defense Force of Burundi.
The purpose of this Protocol is to establish the principles for the establishment of financial assistance which includes the costs of care and the costs of short courses provided or coordinated by the Turkish Armed Forces Training Center as well as the transport costs for official visits by the personnel of the Burundi National Defense Force in Turkey.
The project has been adopted.
6. Draft Ministerial Ordinance on the regulation of school fees and other contributions in the paramedical schools of Burundi, presented by the Minister of Public Health and the fight against Aids.
In order to promote and enable training for the entire population, the Government of Burundi has allowed any promoter wishing to support its action to establish private paramedical schools. But these schools faced financial problems due to the exorbitant costs of equipment and teaching materials but also the scarcity of teachers in some areas.
This situation has led these private schools to exploit the existing legal loophole, still raising fees and other fees and contributions as they saw fit, with negative repercussions on the financial health of households, because the existing regulation on fees concern the public sector.
The present project therefore regulates school fees and other contributions in public and private paramedical schools to cut short this disorder and also follows the recommendation of the Government Retreat of August 2017 which went in this direction.
After analysis, the Council recommended that a harmonized order concerning school fees to be paid in all areas of education should be developed. A team has been designated for this purpose. The project will be brought back towards the end of January 2018.
7. Draft Joint Ordinance Setting the Rate of Duties and fees collected by the Maritime, Port and Rail Authority (AMPF), presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works and Equipment.
In 2008, Burundi ratified the text governing lake transport in the East African Community, in this case the Lake Victoria Transport Act 2007.
This text recommends the harmonization of charges related to lake and inland waterway activities and provides for the establishment of maritime and port authorities for the regulation of inland transport in the member countries of the East African Community. These Authorities collect royalties from services related to maritime and port activities. These fees are listed in a document called "The Lake Victoria Transport Fees Regulations 2010". This document also indicates the amount to be collected for each service.
In order to meet the requirements of the International Maritime Organization and the East African Community and in the face of security challenges in the maritime sector, the Code of Navigation and Lake Transport in Burundi has been promulgated in 2010 followed by the establishment of the Port and Rail Maritime Authority in 2012.
In spite of the implementation of these legal instruments, Burundi has been slow to collect the royalties provided, as orders proposing their collection have been signed but canceled in July 2016 following complaints about double taxation against Port users. Since then, ships entering Burundian ports have not paid any fees, while shipping fees are requested in the other Tanganyika shoreline ports for any shipment that enters them.
The present project implements these different texts to comply not only with the EAC norms but also with international standards and thus allow the AMPF to collect the royalties which are automatically due to it.
The project has been adopted.
In the Miscellaneous, the Council exchanged various relevant information over the life of the nation where in particular :
The Council once again recalled that NGOs wishing to come to work in Burundi must imperatively align themselves with the Government’s development program.
The Minister of Public Service, Labor and Employment informed the Council that in the framework of the implementation of the National Program of Administrative Reform (PNRA), all the offices of the Governors of Provinces are connected to the internet.
To conclude, his Excellency the President of the Republic extended best wished to the members of the Government for the festive season of Christmas and New Year and announced that the governmental leave will begin on December 26, 2017 to end on January 15, 2018.
Done at Gitega, December 22, 2017
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-