BUJUMBURA October 25th (ABP) – The Ministry of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism together with the Ministry of Interior, Community Development and Public Security organized on Saturday October 22, 2022, in Bujumbura, an exchange meeting for managers of agri-food processing units (food, beverages, porridge and others) located throughout the country, to explain to them the content of the press release addressed to these manufacturers dated 13 September 2022. It was on the conditions for obtaining authorizations to set up new processing units and the quality requirements applicable to any production unit.
In her speech, the Minister in charge of Trade, Mrs. Marie Chantal Nijimbere congratulated those who work in the industrial field, explaining that this is a very important area for the development of the country, because they contribute enormously in the management and conservation of the harvest, creation of employment for young people, and taxes and duties are paid, while adding that Burundian citizens consume the products coming from these companies. She took this opportunity to point out that Burundi has more than 700 agri-food processing units. Despite this, Ms. Nijimbere regrets that some of these processing units operate in defiance of the law. She pointed out that some companies transform products without respecting quality standards, environmental protection and without respecting trade law. She pointed out other challenges such as the presence of processing units that work in the informal sector, and which do not have the necessary technology, that is to say that the holders of the latter do not have the knowledge on the use of appropriate formulas, the unfair competition which prevents these industries from developing and others. She asked industrialists to join the Federal Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Burundi (CFCIB) to benefit from the supervision of the private sector. She also asked these industrialists to make strong industries, which can be competitive on the different markets of the region or even on the international market.
It asked the General Directorate in charge of industries and that in charge of trade, the BBN, the CNTA and ABREMA, to get together, to work in complementarity to support these manufacturers in obtaining their needs but also to avoid to be corrupted during the delivery of the various documents requested by the latter.
The Minister of Interior, Community Development and Public Security, Mr. Martin Ninteretse, also highlighted the challenges in the area of industries. He specified that some industries work without documents, the majority of them do not pay neither taxes nor taxes, they work in their dwelling houses, do not have the raw material coming from agriculture whose fruits (lemon, pineapple, orange, malakuja, gigimbre and others) and use other products while mixing them with sugar, which are also harmful to human health.
In addition, the waste from these factories is not treated properly, it is dumped in the gutters and in the rivers to continue in Lake Tanganyika and kill its biodiversity. He also said that there are those who put a lot of alcohol in the drinks they produce or add other harmful products to human health.
The Minister of the Interior estimates that 99% of transformations are food and drink and are consumed locally.
For all these reasons, as the health of the citizen is a priority for the government of Burundi, the Minister of the Interior has invited manufacturers who do not have the requested documents and the quality requirements applicable to any processing unit, to stop producing to first comply with the law. He clarified that the press release was released on September 13, 2022 and ends on October 27, 2022. Anyone who continues to produce products that do not meet the standards except for the closure of their factory, will also be sanctioned by the applicable law.
The Director General of BBN pointed out that his institution faces many challenges, including human resources and insufficient budget to properly accomplish its missions. For their part, the manufacturers have asked the CNTA, which is new, to quickly grant them the documents it issues. They also pleaded for investments in the agricultural sector, which will allow them to have raw materials. Industrialists have also asked the ministry in charge of trade to help them fight the unfair competition which is manifesting itself and which is handicapping their development and that of the country.