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MEDIA RELEASE CONSECUTIVE TO THE CABINET MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 24 JANUARY 2018

The Council of Ministers held its first regular meeting of the year, this Wednesday, January 24, 2018 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre NKURUNZIZA, President of the Republic.
After a prayer led by a member of the Government, His Excellency the President of the Republic extended the New Year’s greetings to the members of the government while congratulating them for the dedication, the spirit of solidarity and collaboration that has marked the government action during the past year, and wished them more success and good health during the year 2018.
Subsequent to the best wishes, the following items were analyzed :

1. Draft Law Governing Capital Markets in Burundi, presented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and Privatization.

Burundi’s financial sector includes banking, insurance and social security activities, but it is also characterized both by the important role of microfinance institutions and the absence of a stock market. This system has a limited amount of savings. Deposits are 80% made up of demand deposits and rates almost never change.

In this context, there is little long-term credit financing, which blocks investment projects that are the engines of economic growth. The stock market is seen as the only way to offer long-term financing and one-off short-term investments.

The Public Finance Act of 2008 stipulated that government draws from the Central Bank (BRB) should be phased out. As a result of this measure, the State has been obliged to find other sources of financing and one of the surest means is the capital market, and it is within this framework that this project has been presented.
The draft text submitted to the Council also complies with the Treaty Establishing the East African Community in connection with the implementation of financial market development plans in the member countries of the Community.

Its purpose is, in particular, to regulate the capital market with a view to protecting investors, ensuring equity in this market and protecting it against financial infringements. After discussions, the Council of Ministers decided to return the project to be revisited by a team designated for this purpose, with the recommendation to draw mainly on the experiences of other member countries of the East African Community in this area. The project will be brought back within a month.

2. Draft Ordinance fixing the ceilings for Expenditures for the First Quarter 2018, presented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and Privatization

The Government of Burundi has embarked on a comprehensive program of Public Finance Management Reforms that derive from the December 2008 Public Finance Act. These reforms mainly concern the preparation and execution of the State Budget, Public Accounting and the control of the use of the State Budget.

As part of the implementation of the Law of December 2008 on the Management of Public Finance, the Budget Act of 2018 provides for the development of ceilings for quarterly commitments of expenditure that must be validated by the Council of Ministers.

These ceilings constitute an indispensable tool for the regulation of Expenditure and contribute to the enrichment of the State’s Cash Flow Plan, which is the main basis for the rational management of the State Treasury. These commitment ceilings are therefore in line with the State Treasury Plan. These ceilings concern all the expenses except those which are compulsory, that is to say the expenses of wages debt repayments.
Thus, during the 2018 budget management, the rate of expenditure commitment will depend on the rate of receipt of revenue by the Bank of the Republic of Burundi.

The project has been adopted.

3. Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Public Security of Burundi and the Ministry of Interior of South Africa, on Police Cooperation,
4. Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Public Security of Burundi and the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China, both items presented by the Minister of Public Security.

In the context of the fight against transnational crime, international, regional and bilateral partnerships are encouraged between the police forces of the countries of the world in order to cooperate in the fight against different forms of crime, terrorism, and also to strengthen the capacities of countries to make them more operational and professional.
These two memoranda between Burundi and South Africa on the one hand and between Burundi and China on the other hand are part of this framework.

This cooperation will provide opportunities for Burundian police officers to master the methods of preventing and combating terrorism, including acts of piracy.
Both memoranda were adopted with some amendments.

5. Draft Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Burundi on Military Cooperation, presented by the Minister of National Defense and Veterans Affairs.

Military Cooperation between Russia and Burundi is ancient. Burundi benefited from Russian support for various military equipment and training sessions for many officers.

Russia intends to provide significant support for teaching at the Higher Institute of Military Cadets (ISCAM), which is why it is essential to establish legal texts to expand other forms of defense cooperation.

The purpose of this Agreement is therefore to enhance and strengthen bilateral military cooperation and relations between the Parties in accordance with the National Laws and applicable International Law Standards to which Burundi is a signatory.
The draft Agreement was adopted.

6. Note on the Bururi-Makamba-Gihofi-Cankuzo Road Asphalting Project, presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works and Equipment.

Burundi is a landlocked country connected to the sea by three corridors namely the Central Corridor via the Port of Dar Es Salam in Tanzania, the Northern Corridor via the Port of Mombasa in Kenya, as well as the Southern Corridor via the Port of Mpulungu in northern Zambia.

As part of the implementation of its Strategy for the Development of Domestic and Regional Infrastructures and in order to open up, Burundi has defined a Road Interconnection Program of all its Provinces and Regional Integration with neighboring countries, particularly road projects connecting it with Tanzania as it is the most economical route.

The Bururi-Makamba-Gihofi-Cankuzo Road Project, whose distance is 157 km long, forms part of this framework and could constitute a new corridor for opening up.

The Council backed the Project and set up a team to finalize its technical aspects before it was brought back for adoption.

Under the chapter of Any Other Business

 The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock informed the Council on small ruminants illness that decimated goats imported from Uganda in Gitega, Mwaro and Kirundo Provinces. He indicated that investigations are underway to determine the importers of these goats that were apparently contaminated before delivery. The Minister reported that contacts are underway for possible compensation for owners of dead goats.

 The Council asked Government members to take advantage of the field visits carried out as part of the referendum campaign, to raise the awareness of the population and the administration of the provinces under their supervision, on the urgency to implement the program of construction of food storage sheds now that the harvest has been very good this season, so as not to be surprised by the planting seasons ahead, with the risks of climate change.

 Finally, the Council reminded members of the Government that the Authorized contact between ministries at all levels and diplomatic missions remains and passes through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation alone. Measures will have to be taken for executives who override these diplomatic rules.

Done at Bujumbura, January 25, 2018

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

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