BUJUMBURA February 23rd (ABP) – The Speaker of the National Assembly, Daniel Gélase Ndabirabe, notes that the objective of making cooperatives a source of wealth in Burundi is far from being achieved, despite the efforts already made by the government since 2019. He announced it during the presentation, in the hemicycle of Kigobe, of the report made after a trip of a commission of MPs, to assess the adequacy of the projects of the village cooperative societies compared to those registered in communal community development plans (PCDC). That report was made public by the permanent committee in charge of Public Accounts, Finance and Economic Affairs and Planning.
Mr. Ndabirabe regrets that the philosophy around cooperative societies has escaped those in charge of the policy. For him, cooperative societies differ from cooperatives, indicating that cooperative societies constitute for the government, “an instrument, a tool, a socio-politico-economic philosophy” to develop the country from the villages. They must be the springboard for the grievances of the people expressed within the PCDCs.
Based on the visits he himself made throughout the country, he said he found that the partners of the village cooperative societies, who should provide the necessary expertise, did not understand the interaction between the cooperative societies and PCDCs. He explains that the communal administrators did not understand the PCDCs and what orientation to give to the cooperative societies.
Furthermore, the National Communal Investment Fund (FONIC) and the National Agency for the Regulation of Cooperatives (ANACOOP), have not been able to guide cooperative societies, because there is sometimes overlap in their activities. Mr. Ndabirabe advocates for the amendment of the mission assigned to those bodies.
The speaker of the national assembly points out that officials do not go on the field to provide their expertise, forcing administrators to fend for themselves.
Understanding the prioritization of agriculture and livestock to achieve sustainable development eludes many administrative officials and regulators of cooperative societies, noted Mr. Ndabirabe. He explained that the other sectors must be understood as sectors that must support the agriculture and livestock sectors. According to Mr. Ndabirabe, referring to the analysis made by the parliamentary commission, the share of the budget allocated to the village cooperative societies in the PCDCs is very minimal. That budget is therefore directed elsewhere, which informs about current returns, he said.
For cooperative societies to become sources of wealth for the country, the speaker of the National Assembly proposes an in-depth change which first involves raising the awareness of all the actors, namely the administrative authorities, the support bodies and the members of cooperative societies to achieve a common vision.