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MEDIA RELEASE CONSECUTIVE TO THE CABINET MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 10 FEBRUARY 2016

A Cabinet Meeting was held this Wednesday, February 10, 2016 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :

1. Bill on protection of victims, witnesses and other persons in a situation involving exposure to danger, presented by the Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals.

In order to be successful, any criminal proceedings require the hearing of the complainants, the suspect and witnesses from the prosecution or the defense. However, the fact is that this procedure is often paralyzed by threats and pressure on victims and witnesses, which can seriously compromise the truth. It is therefore essential to establish a legal framework to protect victims, witnesses and other persons in a situation involving exposure to danger.

The National Convention of Justice held at Gitega in August 2013 has also recommended the establishment of such a legal framework while the principle of the protection of victims and witnesses is also enshrined in the law of March 2014 pertaining to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The Bill was approved.

2. Draft Decree amending the Decree No. 100/365 of 28/12/2006 regulating the legal defense of the interests of the State and Municipalities, presented by the Minister of Justice and Keeper of the Seals.

The Decree No. 100/365 of 28/12/2006 regulating the legal defense interests of the state and Municipalities whose revision is proposed is not only outdated but also incomplete.
On the one hand, the existing text poorly defines the profile a state lawyer must have to effectively ensure the protection of the interests of the state, and maintains some confusion around the missions of the state lawyer and those assigned to the Public Ministry on the other hand. Furthermore, the existing text does not mention some essential elements such as ethics.

The draft shall also end some controversy arising between state lawyers and the Burundi Revenue Authority officials, as to who has the quality to defend in courts the state’s interests in terms of tax and customs, a situation that has caused a huge financial loss to the state. This draft therefore entrusts to the Authority’s officials with the status of State lawyers, the defense in courts over tax and customs litigations.

The project is also in line with the practice in other East African Community member countries in terms of defense in court over tax and customs issues.

The draft was approved with minor amendments.

3. Draft Decree on legal framework concerning cooperatives in Burundi presented by the Minister of Municipal Development.

This draft aims to improve the legal framework for more facilities on the promotion of cooperatives. It was developed based on the criticism over the Code of private companies with public participation of May 2011 in some provisions governing cooperatives, and based on the recommendations gathered through various workshops organized for all stakeholders in the cooperative sector.

So far the project sets the general principles governing the establishment, organization and functioning of cooperatives in Burundi whatever the nature of the activities they perform.

Following exchanges and owing regard to the contributions of the members of the Council in the direction of improving the draft, a team was set up to rework it before returning it within a month.

4. Draft Decree establishing, missions, composition and operation of the National Committee for Trade Facilitation, presented by the Minister of Commerce, Industry and Tourism.

The objective of this decree is to contribute to national trade policy through the facilitation of import, export and transit by reducing costs and delays.
This is to set up a functional and sustainable formal inter-institutional mechanism of coordination with the task of coordinating and supporting the implementation of the Agreement of the World Trade Organization on trade facilitation decided at the 9th Ministerial Conference of December 2013.

The draft was approved with minor amendments.

5. Draft Ordinance pertaining to the adjustment of wage disparities in the public sector presented by the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Employment.

In order to implement the wage disparity reduction policy in the public sector, the Government adopted in 2012 a National Reform Programme for Public Administration. And in this context, a study on wage policy was conducted, and various measures have been proposed.

Following negotiations between different partners under the auspices of the National Committee for Social Dialogue, a consensus was reached and the government is committed to avail 80 billion Burundi francs over a period of four years at 20 billion a year from January 2016.

It is therefore in order to meet this commitment that the 2016 Budget Act provides 20 billion Burundi francs intended to begin the process of reducing wage disparities in the public sector by paying salary adjustment allowances based on the degree and seniority, and this draft ordinance is part of this framework.

The draft was approved with some adjustments.

6. Draft Ordinance laying down the criteria for approval of a certified seeds producer.
7. Draft Ordinance on certified seeds commercialization, both presented by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock.

Both drafts are intended to implement the law of April 2012 organizing the seed sector which has been designed to provide the basis for the reorganization of the seed sector in order to improve performance and increase agricultural yields through seed certification.

Seed certification is a set of procedures, methods and techniques to monitor the seeds during the multiplication process and ensure that the identity, varietal purity and the seed health are maintained and protected by overseeing seed multipliers.
The reason for the draft is to specify the criteria for approval of seed multipliers to ensure the quality of commercialized seeds.

Regarding the Draft Ordinance on the commercialization of certified seeds, it should be noted that these seeds must comply with national, regional and international quality standards, and must bear an official label to identify them, the quality control being provided by the National Authority for seeds control and certification.

The movement of certified seeds must indeed be controlled as provided by the legislation governing this sector and above all protect the buyers inasmuch as they are not able to visually check the quality of the product they are buying, and this regulation thus aims to ensure seed quality to the user.

The two draft ordinances were approved.

8. Miscellaneous

• The Interior and Patriotic Education Minister informed the Council on the Campaign engaged in the fight against the production, sale and consumption of prohibited drinks, the latter being very harmful to the health and welfare of the population.

• The Minister in the Presidency in charge of Good Governance has meanwhile informed the Council of the discovery of the fraud in the chemical fertilizers subsidized by the government ; the seized amounts of fertilizers are to be handed back to the government.

• The Minister of Public Health and the Fight against AIDS evoked the proliferation of malaria since January 2016 and discussed what is being done to combat the pandemic, including indoor residual spraying and the distribution of impregnated mosquito nets.

Done at Bujumbura, February 11, 2016

Philippe NZOBONARIBA

Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-

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Discours: President et autres

Statement by H.E. M. Ambassador Alain Aimé NYAMITWE, Minister of External Relations and International Cooperation of the Republic of Burundi

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