A Cabinet Meeting was held on Wednesday 12 December 2018 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :
1. Draft law ratifying Loan Agreement No. 12/732 between the Republic of Burundi and the Saudi Fund for Development on the project for the construction of the National Road No. 3, Section Rumonge -Nyanza-Lac, signed in Bujumbura on 26/11/2018
2. Draft law ratifying Loan agreement No. 26 between the Republic of Burundi and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa on the project for the construction of the National Road No. 3 , Rumonge-Nyanza-Lac stretch, signed in Bujumbura on 26/11/2018
These two bills were presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and Urban Planning.
The project for the rehabilitation of the Bujumbura-Nyanza Lac National Road, Rumonge -Nyanza Lac section, which is fifty-two (52) kilometers long, is in line with the policy of the Government of Burundi and of the East African Community over the development of the transport sector, which is aimed 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 segment is sixty-eight (68) million US dollars. The Saudi Fund for Development and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, who have agreed to grant each a loan of fifteen (15) million dollars are among the donors who agreed to finance the project.
Following discussion and exchange, both projects were adopted through legal grooming by a designated ministerial team.
3. Draft decree instituting a distance bonus for teachers of the Fundamental, the Post Fundamental and Professional Education, presented by the Minister of Education, Technical and Vocational Training
The reforms introduced in Burundi’s education system after the Government’s free tuition fee measure in 2005 led to a rapid increase in enrollments at all levels of education. The Government mobilized resources for the construction of classrooms even in the most remote areas with the contribution of the population.
With regard to the teaching staff, despite the efforts made to promote the existing staff and recruit new ones, the need for teachers is still high at all levels.
The introduction of a distance bonus for teachers of the Fundamental, the Post Fundamental and Professional Education is one of the solutions that could help to solve the problem of teacher deficiency that arises particularly in schools located in hard-to-reach areas. This is the purpose of this draft decree.
Following a thorough debate on this project, the Council returned it. In view of its implications and ripple effects, a team was set up to deepen it with the recommendation to take into account the wage harmonization policy currently under development. The draft will be brought back within two months.
4. Draft decree establishing the languages of instruction and languages taught at the Fundamental School, presented by the Minister of Education, Technical and Vocational Training.
As part of the continuing reform of the education system initiated by the Government since 2012, a reflection was conducted to adapt the subjects and teaching methods of the first three cycles of basic education to the fourth cycle, with the aim to improve the quality of education.
This reform involves the implementation of various measures. Language teaching is the first direct measure to achieve the objectives of the reform. It has been found that the teaching of the four languages, namely French, Kirundi, English and Kiswahili in the first year of schooling complicates the progression of learning. The various reports of field visits supplemented by the teachers’ testimonies reveal the major challenges in language teaching in the first three cycles of basic education in this case :
- Low language proficiency by teachers especially for English and Kiswahili,
- The lack of sufficient pre-requisites for teachers because their initial education curriculum does not sufficiently prepare them for teaching these languages,
- Oral and written linguistic interference in children because the early introduction of foreign languages disturbs the phonological balance in children,
- The low learning time for reading and writing the mother tongue and the language of instruction (Kirundi and French), especially since the sessions aimed at strengthening the skills of these two languages are shared with the teaching of the other two languages.
In view of all these elements, this project proposes to improve the teaching of the four languages as follows :
- In first year, Kirundi will be taught in writing and French in oral,
- French will be taught with written recourse from the second year,
- English will be integrated from the third year first in oral and then in writing from the fifth year,
- Kiswahili will be introduced in the fifth year orally before the integration of writing in sixth grade ;
- A linguistic transition from Kirundi to French in the Mathematics and Science and Technology disciplines will start from the fourth year to prepare the child for teaching in French from the fifth year.
After analysis and debate, the project was adopted with recommendations to be considered in the conduct of this reform, including a transition period to prepare the transition from the old system to the new system of education.
5. Draft Ministerial Order renewing the limestone and pozzolana exploitation permit to the Burundi Cement Company (BUCECO), presented by the Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mining
The Burundi Cement Company (BUCECO) manufactures cement from imported raw materials, which causes significant foreign exchange expenditures. In order to reduce these costs in foreign currency, this company applied for and obtained in 2014 the authorization of exploitation of limestone on the perimeter of Cibitoke and in 2015 the extension of the license of industrial exploitation of limestone of Cibitoke with pozzolana.
With these authorizations, the share of the local raw material in the manufacture of the cement went increasing as well as the turnover of the company. In April 2018, the company BUCECO requested the renewal of authorizations for the exploitation of limestone and pozzolana in order to continue its program of cement production.
The present draft is proposed to grant the renewal of the exploitation license of the limestone and pozzolana for a period of three years to the BUCECO Company in accordance with the provisions of the Mining Code of Burundi.
After analysis and exchange, the project was adopted with recommendations to be implemented in order to valorize the local raw materials notably by equipping the Chemical Analysis and Control Laboratory (LACA) so that all the chemical analyzes are carried out on the spot.
6. Note on the establishment of an Information Portal on Administrative Procedures, presented by the Minister of Public Service, Labor and Employment
The Government of Burundi adopted in April 2012, the National Program of Reform of the Public Administration. The objective of this Program is to reform public administration with a view to making it qualified, efficient, responsible and oriented towards the general interest and the service to the citizen.
This program has also been integrated into the National Development Plan of Burundi because access to public services remains problematic given the strong centralization of services, the lack of information, compounded by cumbersome administrative procedures.
It is in this context that provincial focal points have been set up and the extension work of these one-stop shops in five other provinces is underway.
Also in this context, the National Program of Reform of the Public Administration has just set up an Internet portal of information on administrative procedures called "Isôko" which is the aim of this Note.
This "Isôko" portal provides citizens and partners in the country with information on administrative procedures and forms for issuing the various documents required by the Burundian administration. This saves citizens time and money because they access this information without having to travel.
Following exchange and debate on this Note, the Council has adopted it but has set up a team that will analyze in detail the data that must feed this Portal as well as those that must not be disclosed. The team will report to the Council of Ministers within two months.
7. Any Other Business
- The Minister of Environment, Agriculture and Livestock has informed the Council that it is Burundi that has been chosen to represent African coffee producing countries at the Fair to be held in New York. This will be the occasion to make known to the world the Burundian coffee.
- The Minister of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and Spatial Planning informed the Council about the General Assembly of the African Association of Public Works Executing Agencies (AFRICATIP) which will take place in Bujumbura and which coincides with the 15 years of existence of the Burundian Agency for the Implementation of Works of Public Interest (ABUTIP).
- The Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mining has spoken about the fuel issue where speculation is observed in service stations while the figures show that this product has been distributed in sufficient quantities. Speculation of a possible rise in prices is unfounded because prices on the supply market have tended to fall during this month of November 2018.
- The Minister of Public Security and Disaster Management informed the Council that security is good throughout the country but that we must remain vigilant especially during this end of the year period.
- Finally, the Ministers in charge of Public Works, Finance and Foreign Affairs have been requested to ensure that the funds promised by the donors for the construction of administrative buildings are spent within three months.
Done at Bujumbura, December 12, 2018
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-