RUYIGI January 12th (ABP) – The Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Audace Niyonzima, visited the province of Ruyigi to inquire about the grievances of the people. He was accompanied by the Commissioner General of the Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR), Jean Claude Manirakiza, the director of the budget within that ministry, Dominique Ndayishimiye, and the various directors general and senior executives of the ministry.
In his welcome speech, the Governor of Ruyigi, Mrs. Emerencienne Tabu, recalled that the core of the economy and finance is the household with the family economy where everyone must accomplish their task and work hard for every family to be prosperous. If the community plans the use of its revenue and income well, the standard of living improves and the country generally develops, according to her. She therefore invited all the participants to an active exchange and above all to address their grievances to the Minister of Finance on any subject in relation to their own good and the whole community.
Minister Audace Niyonzima recalled that the role of his ministry consists of planning the entire annual budget that will be used by the government and determining its sources. He underlined that the main source of State revenue is taxes and duties collected by the Burundi Revenue Authority. The rest comes from debts and aid received by the State from banking organizations and taxes on NGOs, to name but a few. He underlined that the role of that ministry generally consists in monitoring daily revenue and dispatching for the various sectors of the State which need it most immediately. He therefore gave the opportunity to the people to express themselves.
The grievances expressed by the people include a pressing need to translate the law governing the field of taxes and duties into Kirundi, bringing the OBR counters closer to the people, the multiplication of OBR staff to facilitate administrative procedures of taxpayers.
As for the increase in the prices of certain products including, among others, BRARUDI products, cement, sugar and others which are experiencing shortages and price increase, the Minister warns and recalls that it is strictly forbidden to add extra cost. Importers of goods and especially foodstuffs, mainly juices from neighboring countries such as Tanzania, are invited to comply with the law in that area and carry out a quality control of their goods at the BBIN, otherwise, those products may be considered fraudulent.
The OBR and the administration are called upon to build the capacity of taxpayers to avoid any kind of confusion or misinterpretation of the articles on certain goods. They are also called upon to prioritize cooperation over coercive punishments except in cases of rebellion and refusal to comply. The Minister finally asked the people not to consider the staff of the OBR as a kind of hidden police ready to mislead them to extract money from them, but rather as guides ready to help them fulfill their civic duty for the development of their country.