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MEDIA RELEASE CONSECUTIVE TO THE CABINET MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 17 APRIL 2019

A Cabinet Meeting was held on Wednesday 17 April 2019 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items have been analyzed :

1. Bill revising Law No. 1/07 of 25 February 2005 governing the Supreme Court
2. Draft pertaining to the Constitutional Court

These two projects were presented by the Minister of Justice, Civil Protection and Keeper of the Seals. The law governing the Supreme Court is now fourteen years old. After such a long period of application, structural and terminological changes and clarifications must be made to take into account both the evolution of the international context and the lessons learned over those years.

At the regional level, Burundi is a member of the East African Community. As a result, judges of the Supreme Court must be accorded a ceremonial rank equivalent to that of magistrates practicing in the other countries of the Community.

At the national level, Burundi has a new Constitution since June 2018. Under Article 221 of this Constitution, the Supreme Court is the highest ordinary court of the Republic. It guarantees the proper application of the law by the courts. It is in this context that the law governing this Court must be revised to adapt it to this Constitution. The project addresses in particular the question of the mandate of the President and Vice President of the Court, strengthens the independence of the Court’s judges, proposes changes in the organization and functioning of the Supreme Court and the General Prosecutor’s Office as well as their autonomy in terms of administrative and financial management.

With regard to the bill pertaining to the Constitutional Court, it should be noted that since the creation of this Court by the Constitution of 13 March 1992, several organic laws have been promulgated, the most recent being Law No. 1/018 of 19 December 2002 on the organization and functioning of the Constitutional Court and the procedure followed before it 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 followed rely on the above mentioned 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 institutions and persons entitled to seize it.

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 seeks, inter alia, to clarify the question of the Court’s jurisdiction over the constitutional review of acts. in matters other than those falling within the scope of the law, to grant the Court administrative and financial autonomy, to strengthen the independence of the members of the Court and to fill the procedural deficiencies.

After analysis and debate on these two bills, the Council noted that they needed to be reworked and set up a team for this purpose. They will be brought back for re-analysis within a month.

3. Draft decree establishing, assigning, organizing and operating the Urban Planning and Housing Authority "OBUHA", presented by the Services of the Second Vice Presidency of the Republic.

The Burundian population continues to grow in both rural and urban areas. This continued growth of the urban population implies a continuous growth of housing needs. In the past, policies have been devised by successive governments since independence, but no lasting solution has been found.

The structures set up to deal with them sometimes have missions that no longer fit the requirements of the moment. They need to be restructured so that they respond as efficiently as possible to changes in housing demand, especially in urban centers. The solution proposed by this draft decree is to bring together certain existing institutions involved in the field of urban planning, housing and construction to better organize them in the same structure in this case, the Burundian Office of the Urban Planning and Housing Authority "OBUHA".
It should be pointed out that this project had been analyzed in the Council of Ministers and returned to be reworked on certain aspects.

At the end of the analysis of the reworked project presented, the Council found it in conformity with the recommendations which had been formulated and adopted it with some slight corrections.

4. Draft decree authorizing the Burundi Backbone System to manage the single gateway of the Internet networks, presented by the Minister of Youth, Posts and Information Technologies.

Since the liberalization of the telecommunications sector in Burundi, operators and providers of Internet services have steadily increased. Unfortunately, there is not yet a legal framework for the single gateway on national traffic to incoming and outgoing internet networks. There is also no public or private institutional framework specifically responsible for managing the single gateway of the Internet.

As a result, the country is not secure enough because the exchange of information between international Internet Service Providers and Internet Service Providers operating in Burundi is not carefully and rigorously controlled and managed. It is imperative to implement a legal framework aimed at the effective management of Internet networks in order to control and regulate the traffic carried out via incoming and outgoing internet networks. This is the purpose of this draft decree.

After exchange and debate, the Council noted that the mission entrusted to the Burundi Backbone System company is similar to that vested in the Office National des Telecommunications (ONATEL) and recommended that the two companies are merged into a single structure.

The project on the merger of these two companies will be brought to the Council of Ministers within two months.

5. Note on the urgency of signing the project agreements for the RUZIZI III regional hydropower scheme presented by the Minister of Energy and Mining.

Community Hydroelectric Project Ruzizi III (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda) is on the Rusizi River 8 km from the common border between Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

This Note describes the Developer / Investor of this project which is the Industrial Promotion Services Consortium of Kenya (IPS Kenya) and SU Power / Norway. The note also describes the project agreements to be signed between the three CEPGL Member States and the RUZIZI III Project Company, the project agreements between the three national electricity companies of the three countries that will buy the electricity and the electricity project company, the tripartite agreement to be signed between the three CEPGL member states as well as the financing structure of the project.

All the points obtained the consensus during the negotiations between the various participants except three points requiring the approval of the Council of Ministers namely :
• the working language
• applicable law
• The signatories of the agreements in this case the Minister in charge of Energy to sign the project agreements and the Minister in charge of Finance to sign the State guarantee to cover the risks of non-payment.

After analyzing the outline of this Note, the Council gave its approval for the signature of these agreements.

6. Note on the situation of the leather and footwear, cotton, textiles and clothing sector in the East African Community.
7. Note on the automotive industry sector in the East African Community.

These two notes were presented by the Minister to the Presidency in charge of East African Community Affairs.

The Treaty establishing the East African Community invites the Community’s partner countries to promote sustained and balanced industrial growth and to take appropriate measures for the industrial development of East Africa. It is in this context that at the 16th meeting of the Summit of Heads of State of the East African Community held on 20 February 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya, it was recommended to the Council of Ministers of the Community to study the modalities to promote the textile and leather industries in the Community and mechanisms to phase out the import of second-hand clothing and used shoes and leather from outside the Community.
It is important for Burundi to put in place mechanisms to implement this recommendation.

It is also important to set up a multisectoral group of experts to reflect on the measures to be taken at the national level in order to participate effectively in the development of a regional strategy for the development of the leather and footwear, textile, and clothing sectors. As soon as the Regional Strategy is adopted, Burundi will have to develop its own National Strategy.

With regard to the automotive sector, the same Summit of Heads of State of the East African Community held on February 20, 2015 recommended to study the modalities of promotion of the automobile in the Region with a view to reduce imports of used vehicles from outside the East African Community.

In fact, imports of used vehicles represent 70 to 85% of the total market of the East African Community. However, the founding countries of the East African Community, namely : Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, have been preparing to develop their self-propelled industries. They have long established public institutions that take the lead in the development of the sector in question and have private institutions already operating in the sector.

In the case of Burundi, there are no vehicle assembly companies except those importing new or used vehicles and spare parts, and only one that assembles two- and three-wheel motorcycles. The note asks the Government to give guidance to implement the directives of the Summits of Heads of State of the East African Community.

After exchange and debate on these two notes, the Council has set up a team that will reflect and propose to the Government the best strategy to adopt in the implementation of these recommendations taking into account the Burundian realities.

The outcome of the reflection will be analyzed by the Council of Ministers within one month.

8. Any Other Business

• The Minister of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender spoke of the Buterere dump where children are often spotted picking up leftover food with a potential risk of catching diseases such as cholera. He asked that the SETEMU who are responsible for this site ensure the management of food wastes. He also asked that children who have been removed from the street and reintegrated into their original environment be closely supervised so as not to fall back into delinquency.

• The Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mining has asked that the City Council collaborate with the owners of the dump trucks to make the deteriorated roads passable by pouring gravel while waiting for their rehabilitation. He also asked to mark the holes of the drainage channels in the middle of roads that have no lids to prevent accidents. He also asked that the territorial administration be involved so that each household has a latrine. He finally, he asked to ensure the monitoring and control of empty public latrines drained especially in schools and to avoid using them when they are full because they can be source of certain diseases.

• The Minister of National Defense and Veterans Affairs spoke about the meeting of the Ministers of Defense Sector of the East African Community in which he participated and informed that the next meeting will be held in Tanzania.

• The Minister of Communication and Media advocated for the promotion of local innovations by putting in place a legal framework of their operation to facilitate their support and above all to make their products known through advertisements.

Done at Bujumbura, April 18, 2019

Prosper NTAHORWAMIYE
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government. -

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Ijambo rya Nyenicubahiro Umukuru w’Igihugu Petero Nkurunziza Uburundi buhimbaza umunsi w’amasezerano y’ubumwe bw’abarundi 2019.

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