BUJUMBURA January 24th (ABP) – The Minister of Communication, Information Technologies and Media, Mrs. Léocadie Ndacayisaba, paid a visit to the National Telecommunications Office (ONATEL), the National Postal Authority (RNP) and the Executive Secretariat for Information and Communication Technologies (SETIC), Wednesday January 19, 2022 to inquire about the working conditions of these institutions.
The director general of ONATEL, Privat Kabera, said that this institution has a debt of 100 billion Burundian francs, and arrears of six months of staff salaries, equivalent to six billion Burundian francs.
Mr. Kabera reported that since 2017, there has been no recruitment of new staff. According to Mr. Kabera, some services do not have incumbents because 26 employees retired in 2021 and were not replaced. Currently, 22 retirees are notified this year, 32 will be in 2023 and 30 in 2024. Mr. Kabera has, in fact, proposed to recruit new staff. For him, ONATEL should invest in innovative services such as mobile money that could generate revenue. He also proposed the development of a social plan that would allow the voluntary early retirement of staff while benefiting from their pension.
He also asked the State to vote a budget to buy a new license to operate the Onatel network, to cancel, if possible, the debts of this company to the State such as taxes. He also proposed as a solution, the staggering of repayments, investment in innovative services such as mobile money that can bring in revenue, increasing the coverage of the Onamob network, extending the mobile network within the countries, the modernization of the fixed network, the possible extension being to use fiber optics.
The Minister of Communication noted that ONATEL is bankrupt and that a commission is working on the development of a roadmap to redress it. Regarding the credit granted by Huawei, it undertook to discuss it with all the stakeholders with a view to redressing ONATEL.
At the National Postal Authority (RNP), Mrs. Ndacayisaba estimated that the staff, made up of 946 employees, including 40 executives, is overstaffed. The director general of this board, Mrs. Léa Ngabire proposed to reduce the staff by granting money to be able to retire early.
The RNP CEO lamented that there are overlapping services, unfair competition, and other challenges. They also have a problem with the software which is ready to be definitively received while the company does not have the financial means.
The Minister promised them that discussions would continue to find solutions to all these challenges.
Minister Ndacayisaba ended her visit to SETIC where the Executive Secretary, Bienvenu Irakoze deplored the lack of staff who left following the cessation of World Bank activities. The minister indicated that the issue is known to the ministry and that we are advocating for the replacement of staff.