BUJUMBURA September 22nd (ABP) – Members of the lower house of the Burundian parliament recommended Wednesday September 20, 2023, in the Kigobe hemicycle, to the authorities of the ministry in charge of the interior at the central, provincial and municipal level of adopt effective and efficient strategies to improve the performance of municipalities.
It was during a plenary for an oral question session with debates, addressed to the Minister of the Interior, Community Development and Public Security, Martin Niteretse, on the final performance audit report of the Giheta commune in Gitega province.
During the analysis of the report which focused on the reliability of the taxpayer file, the mechanisms to combat non-cashment of collected revenue, tax evasion and embezzlement as well as the recovery of debts, it was observed that not all taxpayers are identified, taxable materials are not exhaustive and the file is not updated regularly, which makes it difficult to assess effectiveness and efficiency in revenue collection.
With regard to the mechanisms for combating non-collection of collected revenue, tax evasion and embezzlement, the deputies who are members of the standing committee of the National Assembly responsible for public accounts and finance, economic affairs and planning, noted that the failure to collect collected revenue is linked to a lack of diligence on the part of the municipal administrator as well as the lack of a legal framework governing collectors.
Likewise, they added, the causes of tax fraud and evasion are due to the lack of tax citizenship among taxpayers.
Compared to the recovery of loans granted to the hill cooperatives of the Giheta commune for the 2019-2020 financial year, the deputies who analyzed the report of the Court of Auditors noted that out of 310,000,000 BIF granted to the 31 hill cooperative societies, 11 cooperative societies had already repaid an amount of 17,884,800 BIF at the time of the audit, or 5.7%, and 292,115,200 BIF, or 94.2%, remained to be recovered.
Thus, the deputies also recommended to the ministry having community development in its attributions, among others, to set up a close structure of technical support and coaching of the cooperative movement, from the commune to the province and to implement all the recommendations made by the Court of Auditors.
Considering that the total amount granted to the cooperative societies of the 2911 hills of the country is 58,220,000,000 BIF with an amount already reimbursed of 1,169,833,822 BIF, i.e. a recovery rate of 2.01%, the MPs wanted to know what they are considering recovering the remaining amount. They proposed to revise the law on the collection of municipal taxes and the law on the fight against corruption.
The latter also asked to evaluate the municipal tax base based on the witness month of communal revenue collection and to closely monitor administrators who leave their administrative entities without permission.
Regarding the recovery strategies for loans granted to hillside cooperative societies, Minister Niteretse said that we are constantly raising awareness of these cooperative societies to develop entrepreneurial leadership while working diligently to increase production, and to finally repay the debt.
According to the Minister in charge of the Interior, administrators must leave their administrative entities with official permission from their governors. Non-governmental organizations that want to invite the administrator to their meetings must submit a letter of request to the supervisory ministry to indicate its agreement, which agreement will be transmitted to the governor.
As for the collection of communal taxes, Minister Niteretse affirmed that the tax base has decreased significantly compared to the control month. He stressed that this reduction in revenue collection is the responsibility of administrators, promising that if the budget allows, there will be a week-long collection of these revenues as part of reminding them of their role.
Concerning the fate of fraudsters, the Minister in charge of the Interior stressed that they must be punished without distinction, once caught. The vehicle transported by the fraud must be seized, while all the accomplices must be apprehended.
He took this opportunity to thank the elected representatives of the people for their suggestions and the recommendations that they continue to make to the executive, an eloquent sign testifying to their close collaboration for the well-being of the population. He recommended to administrative officials budgetary discipline and to work in synergy with the people to denounce fraudsters.
Note that the final performance audit report of the Giheta commune, which was the subject of analysis and debate, dates from 2021.