BUJUMBURA August 11th (ABP) – The Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Audace Niyonzima, said on Tuesday August 8, 2023, that agriculture will be the spotlight during the preparation of the General State Budget for the 2023-2024 financial year. He answered the questions of the provincial and communal administrative officials of Bujumbura, Bubanza, Cibitoke and Bujumbura-Mairie provinces, in relation to the content of the budget law 2023-2024. He had brought them together, as part of the popularization of the content of the said law. The latter expressed their concerns about the work of agronomists who do not have the means to go to the field to offer their services to farmers.
Minister Niyonzima replied that all needs could not be taken into consideration during a single budget year. Concerning agronomists, those means will be provided to them according to their availability.
With regard to the projects put forward during the current budget year, at the agricultural level, he pointed out, among other things, the project to set up agro-poles with some 1,500 hectares which will be developed; the construction of a rabbit breeding and production center; the employment of agronomists throughout the country and the subsidy of fertilizers.
Concerning the construction of the Kajeke dam planned for this financial year, some administrative officials rather suggested calling on the builder who was unable to honor his commitment during the 1st phase of the work. Minister Niyonzima explained that the dam is an emergency to supply the 1,500 hectares of the Imbo plain, which will be exploitable throughout the year, within the framework of agro-poles. To that end, the justice will continue to deal with this case, according to him.
Faced with the concerns expressed, in relation to the tax revenues which are not the same in all the communes, which means that the communes are not at the same level of development, the Minister explained that all the infrastructure development projects, agricultural or other projects are not communal projects, but government projects. The communes could not have at their disposal the means necessary to carry them out. He reassured by letting it be known that in such a case, decisions for the implementation of those projects and the responsibility of the government. In that regard, he informed that the budget law in force provides for an envelope of some 87 billion BIF for the support of communes. That section is stipulated in the content of the new law as “Support for development projects of village cooperatives”. The planned communal revenues are less than ¼ of that sum, according to Mr. Niyonzima.
The development of the Rusizi River, the construction of appropriate infrastructure for the headquarters of zones with extended responsibilities within the framework of the new administrative division, have been mentioned. The Minister in charge of finance was asked whether the two projects were taken into account in the new law. Regarding the development of the Rusizi, Mr. Niyonzima replied that this line does not appear in the law. Preliminary studies are not available, nor the source of the budget, he said. Regarding the construction of infrastructure in the headquarters of the zones, he replied that this law provides for the construction of infrastructure for some 40 zones.