A Cabinet Meeting was held on Wednesday 17 October 2018 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :
1. Bill on the ratification by the Republic of Burundi of the Constitution and the Convention of the African Union on Telecommunications, presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
At the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity, held in Addis Ababa on 7 December 1977, a specialized agency for telecommunications called "Pan-African Telecommunications Union" was established.
Two years later, the plenipotentiaries of the Governments and Member States meeting in South Africa restructured this institution under another name called "African Telecommunication Union" to pave the way for the private sector and put in place legal and fundamental instruments namely its Constitution and Convention.
The Convention is a legal instrument that complements the Constitution and defines the functioning of the organs of the African Telecommunications Union.
This Constitution and this Convention were revised in Harare in July 2014. Burundi has already signed them but to remain a member and to enjoy all the rights, it is necessary to proceed with their ratification.
The project was adopted pending finalization by a team designated for this purpose.
2. Draft decree on the organization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Decree No. 100/03 of 19 April 2018 revising Decree No. 100/29 of 18 September 2015 on the structure, functioning and missions of the Government of the Republic of Burundi set up the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The change of name of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in Ministry of Foreign Affairs only caused the change of the missions of the Ministry and thus a new reorganization of this ministry according to the new decree.
The new reorganization takes into account the politico-diplomatic realities of the moment, the bilateral and multilateral cooperation while avoiding the confusions and conflicts of competence of these two domains.
This project proposes a new organization of the Ministry to comply with the aforementioned decree.
The project was adopted with some corrections.
3. Bill on the fighting acts of terrorism in Burundi, presented by the Minister of Public Security and Disaster Management
Terrorism is a global threat. In the fight against this threat, international legal instruments have been ratified by states, including Burundi.
In spite of this, acts of terrorism are multiplying and diversifying around the world.
Given its involvement in peacekeeping operations, Burundi is not immune to this threat. Indeed, for some time now, threats of terrorist attacks by the Al Shabab Group have been recorded, as well as a crime that is akin to terrorist acts, threatening the order and public security. Messages glorifying terrorism on Burundian territory are also disseminated.
Burundi cannot allow a terrorist enterprise to flourish in its territory and deprive itself of the means to prevent the commission of terrorist acts.
The present project proposes to repress these terrorist acts by increasing the penalties in order to discourage the sponsors, the authors, the co-authors and the accomplices.
After exchange and debate, the Council noted that it is necessary to make a comparative analysis of this project with the Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure in order to avoid contradictions on the facts and their repression. A ministerial team has been appointed for this purpose and the project will be brought back within two weeks at the same time as the project setting up the Operational Center for the Fight against Terrorism.
4. Bill to change the management style and structure of social capital of the SOSUMO, presented by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.
On October 3, 2018, the Council of Ministers analyzed and adopted the Roadmap for the Revitalization of the SOSUMO.
The adoption of a law to change the mode of management and structure of the social capital of the SOSUMO to make room for private economic operators to increase its productive potential was among the actions to implement this revitalization ; this bill is in accordance with this context.
The bill law was adopted with the recommendation to regularly inform the Council of Ministers on the progress of the file.
5. Bill amending Law No. 1/18 of 15 May 2014 on the establishment, mandate, composition, organization and functioning of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, presented by the Minister of Justice, Civil Protection and Keeper of the Seals.
On October 10, 2018, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented its provisional report to Parliament. After the exchange of the parliamentarians, a resolution with recommendations was sent to the Government.
The main recommendation made concerned the revision of certain provisions of the law governing the CVR. On the basis of these recommendations made to the Government, the present project proposes the modifications among others in relation to :
• Extension of the Commission’s mandate and how to replace a member of the Commission ;
• The insertion of a provision allowing the Parliament to evaluate at midterm the achievements of the Commission so as to have a legal basis ;
• Include the period of colonization in the Commission’s mandate ;
• Give the Commission the power to manage the human remains dug up from the mass graves until the truth is revealed ;
• Specify under which conditions, the assistance of international experts is required as well as the qualities and skills to be required ;
At the end of the debate on these modifications, the project was adopted with some corrections.
6. Draft Ministerial Order setting the expenditure ceilings for the second quarter of 2018/2019, presented by the Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Development Cooperation.
The Government of Burundi has undertaken public finance management reforms stemming from the December 2008 law on public finance. These reforms mainly concern the preparation and execution of the State Budget, public accounting, as well as the control of the use of the State Budget. As part of the implementation of this law of December 2008, the budget law of 2018/2019 provides for the development of ceilings for quarterly commitments of expenditure that must be validated by the Council of Ministers.
These expenditure ceilings, which are in line with the State’s treasury plan, concern all expenditures except those that are mandatory and incompressible, that is, wage and debt expenses.
The project has been adopted.
7. Draft Ministerial Order revising the Joint Ministerial Order No. 540/1203 of 10/08/201, defining the criteria for eligibility as a priority undertaking for the national economy, presented by the Minister Finance, Budget and Economic Development Cooperation.
The Joint Ministerial Order No. 540/1203 of 10/08/2017 was implemented pursuant to the Budget Act 2016 which reintroduced the exemption from the Value Added Tax (VAT) on imports for priority for the national economy. This order specified in an exhaustive manner, the sectors concerned by this regulation. However, it has turned out that among the companies whose applications have been rejected because they are not eligible ; there are companies that are strategic for the country’s economy in terms of the sectors in which they operate.
This revision of the current ordinance is proposed in order to integrate all the priority strategic enterprises in the national economy.
The project has been adopted.
8. Draft Joint Ministerial Ordinance on the General Regulation of Fisheries and Aquaculture, presented by the Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock
The law governing fisheries and aquaculture was promulgated in 2016 and needs to be supplemented by implementing legislation to facilitate its implementation. It is in this context that this draft order was presented.
The Draft Ordinance on the General Regulation of Fisheries and Aquaculture is proposed to ensure the responsible and sustainable management of fisheries resources. It indicates the type of fishing and the gear that is allowed to be used and the different types of licenses that can be granted. It also indicates the types of peaches that do not require authorization.
After an exchange and debate, the Council noted that the text needed to be thoroughly analyzed and set up a team to work on it at the same time as the draft order concerning the organization of the breeding and exploitation of fish in aquarium.
These projects will be finished within a month.
9. Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Burundi and MANGO TREE Group Co Ltd on the project for the promotion of lake transport on Lake Tanganyika, presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and territory planning.
Lake Tanganyika is an infrastructure for opening up and transporting Burundi to Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zambia. Burundi urgently needs ships capable of transporting goods and people through the ports of these three countries. To meet this need, MANGO TREE Group Co Ltd offered to promote lake transport on Lake Tanganyika through the construction of a mixed cargo and passenger boat to and from these different ports. This is the purpose of this draft Memorandum.
After exchange and debate, the Council considered that it was necessary to analyze at the same time all the files of the economic operators who propose to invest in this sector, to harmonize them and to see the best bidder.
A Commission has been set up to deal with them and these files will be prepared for the Council of Ministers within a month.
10. Revised Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Burundi and the United Republic of Tanzania on the Uvinza-Musongati Railway Project, presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and Works Territory Development.
The Governments of the Republic of Burundi and Tanzania, commited to develop the rail transport sector have initiated a project to build the Uvinza-Musongati Railway. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed for this purpose but its duration expired in September 2016 while the project is still relevant. There is therefore a need to extend the duration of the memorandum of understanding.
In addition, Burundi must take into account the transport of ores at other sites other than Musongati and build a railway station at Gitega, hence the inclusion of the Musongati-Gitega section in the project. The project will be called Gitega-Musongati-Uvinza-Tabora.
The revision of this Memorandum therefore responds to these two concerns.
The project has been adopted.
• The Minister of Communication and Media spoke about his visit to the press and the complaints he received.
• The Minister in charge of Finance asked the members of the Government to indicate to him the various organizations of which Burundi is a member as well as the amounts of the arrears of contributions before the end of December 2018, in order to evaluate and to decide in which Burundi can remain member with regard to the interest it derives from it. He also asked them to send him the structures of their ministries in preparation for the 2018/2019 budget revision.
• The Minister in the Presidency in charge of East African Community Affairs informed the Council that now in the statutory meetings of Ministers of the East African Community only Ministers are allowed to participate. Representation by Permanent Secretaries is no longer permitted. She also talked about the problem of household water evacuation in some areas of Bujumbura.
• The Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock informed the Council that the payment of coffee growers is going well and that any operator in the sector who has not yet completed the payment this Thursday, October 18, 2018 will be considered a saboteur and will be removed from the list of operators in this sector. He also informed that vaccination against small ruminants’ pest was successful except in two provinces that require a second vaccination because it was noticed that the immunity was not sufficient.
• The Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research informed the Council that partners wish to award scholarships in the field of research. He asked the Ministers to send him the needs as quickly as possible for centralization and coordination with a view to communicating them to the partners.
• The Minister of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and Territorial Development informed the Council that the mandate of the Executive Secretary of the Central Corridor, who is Burundian, has just been renewed for a period of three years.
• The Council has called for the law governing religious denominations to be enforced, especially in order to address the proliferation of churches and night-time noise in neighborhoods. It was also asked to the relevant services to investigate, as soon as possible, a drink commonly called "HuhaHuha" that is wreaking havoc on the population and consequently take the necessary measures.
• Finally, His Excellency the President of the Republic urged the members of the Government to get involved in agriculture and modern livestock to serve as a model for the population.
Done at Bujumbura, October 18, 2018
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-