A Cabinet Meeting was held on Wednesday 03 October 2018 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :
1. Bill pertaining to the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the Loan Agreement No. 13324P between the Republic of Burundi and the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) on the project for the construction of the National Highway N°3, Rumonge-Nyanza-Lac section, signed in Vienna on 27/8/2018, presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and Spatial Planning.
The rehabilitation project of the national road Bujumbura-Nyanza Lac, section Rumonge-Nyanza Lac of 52 km falls in the line of the policy of the Government of Burundi on the one hand and of the East African Community on the other hand in terms of development of the transportation sector, which aims at the rehabilitation, modernization and maintenance of the road network, particularly regional corridors. This strategy aims to open up Burundi by linking it with neighboring countries.
The total cost of this section is USD 68 million, and among the donors who have agreed to fund the project is OFID, which has provided a loan of USD 20 million.
The analyzed project concerns the ratification of this loan agreement. After discussion and exchange, the project was adopted with further legal advice to be provided by a ministerial team designated for this purpose.
2. Draft decree revising Decree No. 100/112 of 30 May 2016 on the establishment, missions, organization and functioning of the Burundi Mining and Quarries Authority, OBM in acronym, presented by the Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mining.
The Burundi Mining and Quarries Authority was created by the decree N° 100/112 of May 30, 2016. The organizational changes have resulted in the signing of Decree No. 100/095 of 08 August 2018 on the organization of the Ministry of Hydraulics, Energy and Mining.
This decree re-orientates and expands the missions of the Burundi Mining and Quarries Authority to enable it to better accomplish its missions.
This project complies with the new context and the orientations of the new decree organizing the Ministry.
The project was adopted with a few corrections.
3. Draft Organic Law Governing the Constitutional Court, presented by the Minister of Justice, Civil Protection and Keeper of The Seal.
Since the creation of the Constitutional Court by the Constitution of March 13, 1992, several organic laws have been promulgated, the most recent being Law No. 1/15 of 19 December 2002 on the organization and functioning of the Constitutional Court and the procedure to be followed and Law No. 1/3 of 11 January 2007 amending certain provisions of the same law.
Today, the composition, organization and functioning of this Court and the procedure to be followed are governed by these two texts.
In June 2018, a new Constitution was promulgated and some of its provisions reorganize the Constitutional Court by regulating mainly the questions of its composition, its competence as well as the persons entitled to refer a matter to the Court.
Apart from the fact that the proposed revision aims to adapt the law to the new Constitution and to elaborate a single text governing this Court, it also aims, inter alia, to clarify the question of the Court’s jurisdiction over the constitutional review of acts for matters other than those falling within the scope of the law, and to strengthen the independence of the members of the Court.
After analysis of this project, the Council has set up a team that will re-study the project by placing it in a more global context compared to other judicial bodies of the same rank and taking into account mainly its budgetary impact. The file will be brought back within two months for reanalysis.
4. Bill on the Production, Control, Distribution and Use of Seeds and Embryos of Animal Origin, presented by the Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock.
In its various development programs, the Government has set up a National Agricultural Investment Plan in which the intensification of agricultural, animal and fish production is planned. It also drew up a national breeding policy with the aim of increasing animal production by genetic improvement of the livestock.
It is in this context that the improvement of the cattle herd has been undertaken since 1980 with the aim of increasing milk production. Different cattle breeds have been introduced as well as bovine seeds for artificial insemination.
Although artificial insemination is a reality today, the activity takes place outside any legal and institutional framework.
This project addresses these legislative gaps in the production, dissemination and use of quality seeds and embryos of animal origin, to comply with international norms and standards and to protect animal livestock.
The project was adopted with a few corrections.
5. Draft Joint Ministerial Order regulating the convoys of unregistered vehicles entering Burundi, presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and Spatial Planning.
The convoy activity of unregistered vehicles entering Burundi deserves special attention because it escapes any regulatory and administrative tax norm. Regulations are therefore necessary to ensure that the activity is carried out regularly and by known people.
The purpose of this draft order is to improve the coordination system in the convoy of vehicles entering Burundi and to ensure a complete and correct monitoring in the collection of taxes to be paid to the Treasury.
It should be noted that so far the technical services of OBR refer to a 2010 memorandum of clearance for imported second-hand vehicles.
Following the analysis of the project, the Council noted that the activity itself is not a problem because the vehicle enters Burundian territory after having paid the duties and taxes due. Instead, the Council recommended organizing agencies that do this activity to comply with the regulations. The related file will be brought back in one month for analysis.
6. Briefing Note on the unilateral and unjust decisions of the Human Rights Council vis-à-vis of Burundi, presented by the Minister of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender.
This Note recalls that since 2013, Burundi has been the subject of particular harassment by the Human Rights Council, which votes unjust resolutions without valid reasons. The Note mentions the various reports of enquiry on Burundi since 2015, politically motivated and remote-controlled as well as the reactions of the Burundian people, the Government and the various institutions of the country to the hidden agenda of the various resolutions and reports of some foreign countries against Burundi.
The Note concludes on the holding of the 39th session of the Human Rights Council where it appeared that several countries support Burundi but for fear of financial reprisals from the European Union, prefer to abstain during the vote.
After reading the content of the note, the Council has set up a team that will make a global analysis of the situation since 2013 until today, examine the proposals of the population and other institutions of the country, make an analysis of the international context and propose a way forward. The file will be brought back in a month.
7. Draft joint order suspending late payment penalties for the change of the cardboard driver’s license into a biometric driver’s license, presented by the Minister of Public Security and Disaster Management.
Since the introduction of a biometric license in September 2015, it was expected that all cardboard driving licenses would be withdrawn by the end of 2016. By the end of the proposed deadlines, very few people had been able to obtain a definitive biometric permit. For this purpose, an additional period of six months was granted to those who could not change their license.
Following complaints from license applicants that the additional time allowed was not sufficient, it was decided to extend the deadline once again until August 31, 2017, with the clarification that as of September 1, 2017 the penalties provided for will be applied for those who drive without a biometric license.
The measure was applied and latecomers who wanted to obtain the license were required to pay 2000Fbu late payment penalties.
Since that date until today the one who stays with his cardboard license has to pay more than 750.000Fbu of penalties plus 100.000Frbu representing the cost of the license, which is not easy for an average Burundian citizen. Some gave up driving others preferring to drive without a license.
In order to avoid attempts of fraud or contravention, it is proposed to proceed with the suspension of the measure to inflict penalties of delay. Instead, the holders of invalid license since 29 September 2015 should redo the driving test.
The project was adopted with slight modifications.
8. Roadmap for the revitalization of the SOSUMO, presented by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
On August 18, 2018, the Council analyzed the Final Report of the Steering Committee on the Revitalization of the SOSUMO. The Council of Ministers took careful note of the proposals of the Steering Committee and recommended to determine in chronological order the actions that will be implemented to achieve the recovery of the SOSUMO. This proposed roadmap follows the recommendation of the Council of Ministers.
The roadmap was adopted by re-scheduling and with the recommendation that the proposed actions be implemented by the end of 2018.
9. File relating to the Contract Amendments signed between the Government of Burundi and GigaWatt Global SA in the framework of the 7.5 MW Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant Construction Project in Mubuga Zone, Gitega Commune, Gitega Province, presented by the Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mining.
In order to meet the ever-increasing energy demand, the Government of Burundi has opened the sector to private investors through the introduction of attractive legislation. It is in this context that the company GIGAWATT Global has proposed to develop a Photovoltaic Solar Power Plant of 7.5 MW in Mubuga Gitega Province and agreements have been signed in this context.
Subsequently, GIGAWATT Global received a request from its financial partners to clarify and adjust the various agreements with the Government related to the project. Amendments have been made to these agreements to remove any ambiguity about the conformity of the contractual terms with the laws and regulations in force.
These amendments were analyzed by the Council of Ministers on 25 July 2018 and a team was set up to analyze their legal aspects. During the working sessions held between the two parties, it appeared that, of the various amendments proposed, only one could not find a consensus, namely the most appropriate arbitration body for the settlement of disputes that may arise between the Government and GIGAWATT Global.
Government experts analyzed this issue and found that the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris is the most appropriate in this case and the proposal was welcomed by GIGAWATT GLOBAL.
This note discusses consensus between the two parties on this issue. The file has been adopted.
10. Any Other Business
- The Minister of the Interior, Patriotic Training and Local Development spoke about the results of the meeting he held with NGOs representatives working in the country. It was intended to further clarify the reasons for the decision of the National Security Council to suspend these NGOs for a period of three months and the conditions to be met to resume activities.
- The Minister of Justice, Civil Protection and Keeper of the Seals brought to the attention of the Council the administrative measures to be taken when a senior official of the State must answer before the judicial authorities so that there is no obstacle to the functioning of the institution or service concerned during this period.
- The Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research informed the Council that, as part of the follow-up activities of private Universities and Institutions of Higher Education, it has been found that some of them will close while others will not be allowed to enroll new students this year.
- The Minister of Youth, Posts and Information Technologies informed the Council on the progress of the modernization of ONAMOB network. There is significant progress indeed as the ONAMOB network is currently operating throughout the country with the exception of one province.
- The Minister of Education, Technical and Vocational Training spoke about the School Director who sat the exam in lieu of a student. The Council requested follow-up on this case to wrap it up as soon as possible.
- Finally, the Council found that schools that had been closed reopened without authorization and requested that action be taken. The same is true for schools that closed when they collected the registration fees from students. It was requested that the issue found settlement within no more than three months.
Done at Bujumbura, October 04, 2018
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-