• Sun. May 26th, 2024

Contracts that disadvantage the country must be reviewed, according to the people’s elected representatives


Oct 4, 2023

BUJUMBURA, October 4th (ABP) – Prime Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca presented, on Monday, October 2, 23, in front of the two Houses of Parliament meeting in Congress, the achievements of the government, made during the 2nd half of the past fiscal year 2022/2023.

On that occasion, parliamentarians expressed their concerns about the losses that Burundi is recording following certain contracts that Burundi signs with mining companies or others. They asked the Prime Minister what the government intends to do about it, calling on the government to do everything possible to remedy this, by renegotiating all contracts which disadvantage Burundi.

The Prime Minister recognized that since 2015, a series of contracts to the disadvantage of Burundi have been negotiated and signed. Those contracts were adhesion contracts, according to him. Such contracts are a burden, he said, giving the examples of rare earths from Gakara and the privatization of coffee.

These contracts denote a negotiating imbalance to the disadvantage of Burundi, he added. He thus informed that the government is doing the best to remedy the situation, for the contracts to be win-win. He indicated that patience is the front line that the government has set for itself during the negotiations which sometimes promise to be difficult.

The parliamentarians questioned the Prime Minister regarding the legal framework used by members of the government. To that end, they called on Cabinet members to be up to date by using the current laws passed by parliament. Speaking on that subject, Mr. Ndirakobuca noted that the legal framework needs to be reviewed. Law decrees dating from yesteryear, before the establishment of a parliament, more than 30 years ago, are still relevant, he said. For the Prime Minister, these decree laws would have no reason to exist. Thus, laws enacted by the Head of State without consulting a parliament must be analyzed and approved by parliament in the form of a law.

                                      View of the MPs

Mr. Ndirakobuca said he had informed Cabinet members to submit all decrees and laws to parliament, so that they could be analyzed and passed as laws.

In relation to the proposal to put in place specific laws to combat corruption, including the law on the declaration of assets for political figures who enter high positions, the law on the fight against corruption, etc., he recognized that the argument is significant and comprehensive.

He called on parliamentarians to support members of the government in the implementation of those laws, acknowledging that the prerogative to initiate laws is recognized by the constitution.

The parliamentarians also asked the question of whether there was any added value compared to the means currently injected to allow the people to obtain supplies of chemical fertilizers produced by FOMI. Otherwise, make other arrangements to obtain supplies from other markets.

Mr. Ndirakobuca explained that the major challenge is monopoly. At a time when the supply of chemical fertilizers is ensured by FOMI alone, the Prime Minister informed that this monopoly is going to take an end because a new factory, which will produce fertilizers in accordance with the properties of the soil, will soon be set up in Bugendana commune.

Parliamentarians finally expressed concern about the new requirement to pay for plane tickets in foreign currency. The Prime Minister responded that the measure taken does not constitute the solution to the problem posed. The problem raised is that the central bank does not return in foreign currency the national currency collected during the sale of tickets, the airlines thus demands the counterpart in foreign currency.

Mr. Ndirakobuca informed, at the same time, that this measure would be suspended, allowing travelers to continue to pay for their tickets in local currency. “Average people who need to travel would not be favored, even the control of the exchange rate would be called into question,” he concluded.