BUJUMBURA January 16th (ABP) – Four Ministers, namely the Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning Mr. Audace Niyonzima, that of National Defense and Veterans Affairs, Mr. Alain Tribert Mutabazi, that Minister of Commerce, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Mrs. Marie Chantal Nijimbere as well as the Minister of Communication, Information Technologies and Media, Mrs. Léocadie Ndacayisaba, made on Thursday, January 12, 2023, a trip to the city of Bujumbura, to collect the grievances of the urban people, in accordance with the recommendation of the Head of State.
In his welcoming address, the mayor of the city of Bujumbura, Mr. Jimmy Hatungimana, welcomed those members of the government and praised the recommendation issued by the Head of State to approach the people to find lasting solutions to certain problems.
The four ministers then made the presentation of the attributions of each ministry, to guide the people to properly direct their concerns, during the question session.
At the time of the questions, the inhabitants of Bujumbura City Council asked the minister in charge of finance to do capacity building for young people, to help them properly draw up their development projects. Minister Niyonzima replied that this work is already being done at the level of the Youth Economic Empowerment and Employment Program (PAEEJ), and promised to multiply such training so that young people benefit from it in large numbers.
The same minister was asked to give employment to Burundians in the construction of major public infrastructure, to allow the reduction of foreign currencies granted to foreigners who do that work. Here, Minister Niyonzima affirmed that the Burundians are capable. However, he underlined the challenge of Burundians not to show off that capacity and suggested that Burundian economic operators should come together to win such markets.
The inhabitants of Bujumbura City also reported certain employees of the Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR) who misbehave towards the taxpayers. They gave the example of some tax auditors who mistreat taxpayers, also asking to materialize the OBR services digitization project. To those questions, the Minister of Finance replied that OBR employees who perform their duties without respecting the law must be denounced and sanctioned. Regarding digitization, he said they are already at the stage of digitizing collection chains and expenditure chains. He promised that the electronic invoice will also be operational shortly, because the machines are already available.
Many grievances have been addressed to the Minister of Trade, Transport, Industry and Tourism, Mrs. Marie Chantal Nijimbere. The urban people insisted on the rising prices of foodstuffs such as rice, beans, potatoes, flour and others. They also asked to strengthen the Burundi Standardization Bureau (BBN), so that products made in Burundi are accepted even at the international level.
The inhabitants of the city also asked for the strengthening of the Living Museum of Bujumbura so that it constitutes a real tourist attraction. The artists who sent their products to the exhibition which took place in Dubai in 2021 also pleaded for the return of their products.
Responding to the issue of rising prices, Mrs. Nijimbere replied that her ministry is not capable of setting or stabilizing food prices. She clarified that food prices go up or down depending on whether the harvest is good or bad. She took advantage of that opportunity to invite the urban people to increase production so that the surplus would be transformed and preserved, in order to have something to export to have foreign currency.
For the BBN, she indicated that efforts are being made to bring it up to standard with other quality control bodies in other countries of the region, in order to facilitate the export of Burundian products.
For the Living Museum of Bujumbura, she specified that a law governing it has already passed by the Cabinet Meeting, and there will be certain innovations that will make the museum a real tourist attraction. She took the opportunity to invite all Burundian artists, and those from the interior of the country, that they have their place in the National Museum. The minister also said that she is pursuing the case of artists whose products remained in Dubai, after the 2021 fair, so that those products return to Burundi.
The Minister of Communication, ITs and Media, Mrs. Léocadie Ndacayisaba, received a complaint related to the theft of money through mobile phones, including Lumicash and EcoCash. She invited the urban people to always remain vigilant. She asked to alert the mobile phone company that erects the account, the police and the ARCT as soon as possible, once found that the theft has taken place, in order to stop the related strategies.
For the Minister in charge of National Defense and Veterans, the mayor of the city of Bujumbura asked him to see how to cut the old trees which are in the military camps based in Bujumbura City. The mayor also asked to close the military camps to beautify the economic capital of Burundi. The Minister of National Defense commended that contribution.