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Trip by the Minister of Finance and Development Planning

ByWebmaster

Jan 17, 2023

BUJUMBURA January 17th (ABP) – The Minister of Finance, Budget and Development Planning, Mr. Audace Niyonzima, visited Bujumbura province (western Burundi) last week to listen to the grievances of the people of that province and answer questions related to his ministry and the services that compose it, a check in Mageyo of Mubimbi commune by ABP has revealed.

In his welcoming address, the governor of that province, Désiré Nsengiyumva, indicated that taxpayers have difficulty declaring the activities carried out with the Burundi Revenue Authority (OBR) because the texts of the laws are in French and requested that they be translated into the national language. He also pointed out the numerous roadblocks on the RN4 (Bujumbura-Gatumba); the Budget program, a reform that the communal administrators did not understand its application, which made the operating budget to be in deficit; banks that apply high interest rates to loan, to name but a few

Among the main concerns addressed to the ministers of finance, the people of Bujumbura wished to see the value added tax (VAT) abolished on the loans that FONIC grants to the communes, trip of the OBR agents in the communes for sensitization on tax compliance, teachers who have not benefited, for some time, from loans to the solidarity fund for education workers (FSTE) and the housing fund for teachers (FLE), the increase in salaries for workers, the abolition of taxes on food products from abroad and others.

Responding to questions, Minister Niyonzima made it clear that paying taxes is not only a civic obligation but also an honor and pointed out that what undermines the development of the country is laziness; people do not want to work. He continued by saying that from now on the texts of laws will be translated into Kirundi, calling on those who exercise a trade activity to make a declaration in accordance with the law, while pointing out that within three months with digitalization, a declaration system and billing by machine will be introduced and this will facilitate the collection of taxes and duties. Regarding the budget program, the minister in charge of finance said that it could be revised to increase the budget where there is a deficit. According to the Minister in charge of finance, bank interest rates are high because the number of people applying for loans remains low, there are some who do not pay the loans they applied for, ensuring that interest rates will gradually decrease because without the reduction in the interest rate, there will be no development, he said.

With regard to the abolition of VAT, Mr. Niyonzima indicated that VAT cannot be abolished because it has been put in place by a law and there must be a law that abolishes it, but it is not there yet. Tax citizenship awareness sessions are organized, there is even a department for that, but those sessions must be multiplied. Market prices go down when there is production and it is the law of supply and demand. The state cannot abolish taxes on imported food products, there is currently no reason to do so, the crops are ripe, prices will soon drop on the market. To those who ask that the salaries of civil servants be revised upwards, the Minister of Finance did not beat around the bush. He replied that production must be increased and salaries will follow.