• Sun. May 19th, 2024

International Workers’ Day has been celebrated


May 3, 2024

KAYANZA/BUJUMBURA/CANKUZO/BURURI/BUBANZA, May 3rd (ABP) – On Wednesday May 3rd, Burundi joined the rest of the world in celebrating International Workers’ Day.

At national level, the day was celebrated at the Gatwaro stadium in the capital of Kayanza province (north), under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Burundi, who was accompanied by his wife. The ceremonies were also attended by a number of leading figures, including the President of the Constitutional Court, the President of the Supreme Court, former Burundian presidents and former first ladies.

In his welcoming speech, the Governor of Kayanza, Colonel Rémy Cishahyo, was delighted that this day had come at a time when peace and security reigned throughout his province. However, he deplored the fact that the infrastructure and equipment at the Rwegura tea complex are in a state of disrepair and have never been rehabilitated, despite the fact that the complex continues to generate foreign currency.

Célestin Nsavyimana, representative of the Confederation of Trade Unions of Burundi (COSYBU), took his turn to speak about the bad behaviour of some workers. He pointed out that some are absent from work, while others pretend to work but who slander their colleagues, and others who do not denounce those who embezzle public funds. He also took issue with employers who make decisions without the consent of workers. He also denounced employers in parastatal institutions who take public property as their families’ property. Mr Nsavyimana took the opportunity to call on workers to form trade unions to ensure that their rights were respected.

The Vice President of the Republic, Prosper Bazombanza

In his occasional speech, the Head of State commended the fact that employers and workers were promoting social dialogue in the workplace, promising to meet with them to resolve the problems that arise in workers’ lives. However, he said he did not understand why and how employees, especially those in the State, were always whining about their salaries, saying that they were not in line with current reality. According to President Ndayishimiye, the state is not an employer, but it is there as a facilitator between employees and employers. He therefore called for an increase in production to bring in a lot of taxes, which, in his view, would enable workers to reap the benefits.

The ceremonies ended with awards to ten workers who had distinguished themselves more than others in their departments.

In Bujumbura city, the ceremonies took place on the Boulevard de l’Indépendance. They were attended by the Vice-President of the Republic, Mr Prosper Bazombanza, and began with a parade of workers from the public and private sectors.

In his address for the day, Mr Bazombanza said that the government was aware of workers’ concerns and was working to satisfy them, with the aim of leading the country towards development. While recalling the theme of this day, “getting down to work while taking stock of achievements”, the Vice-President of the Republic indicated that this day is being celebrated at a time when an understanding is emerging between the government, workers’ unions and employers. He mentioned the increase in agricultural production.

The Prime Minister, Mr. Gervais Ndirakobuca in Cankuzo

With regard to the treatment of civil servants, he pointed out that 90% of them had been reinstated in their right to regularisation and upgrading.

regularisation and upgrading of their salaries, pointing out that regularisation for the remaining workers would take place soon. He revealed that 2,874 new jobs had been created in the education sector and a further 160 in the health sector.

On the subject of youth support, he noted that the Youth Economic Empowerment and Employment Programme (PAEEJ) had educated 114,984 young people. What’s more, 3,473 cooperatives have been set up, while 3,485 young people have found jobs and 3,432 are in the process of doing so.

According to Mr Bazombanza, Burundi is facing up to the consequences of climate change. However, he declared that the government would spare no effort to come to the aid of the victims, while urging Burundians to help each other to support those in need. He also took issue with the behaviour of certain officials who indulge in corruption and idleness, and who are not fulfilling their duty to work towards achieving the objectives set by the government. He called on them to change their ways. He also paid tribute to the remarkable contribution of the private sector to the country’s development.

The Burundi workers’ unions mentioned 9 major challenges handicapping the labour sector in Burundi, including the introduction of a retirement age of 60 instead of 65. For the representative of the Confederation of Burundi Trade Unions (COSYBU), this situation has destabilised pensioners who had taken out loans. This situation was made even more difficult by the stoppage of promotions in 2016.

Secondly, he mentioned the delay in releasing funds for the category of workers in personalised state institutions, asking that they be restored to their rights like the others in the civil service.

Thirdly, he mentioned the high cost of living, calling on the government to index wages in line with the cost of living. Fourthly, he mentioned the lack of independence of trade unions in certain institutions, even though this is a right enshrined in the law.

Fifthly, he denounced the fact that work is awarded on the basis of corruption and/or political affiliation. With regard to the management of institutions under state supervision, it was pointed out that some managers are not up to the job due to inexperience or technical incapacity. He invited the government to initiate training sessions for them. He pointed out that climate change has already claimed victims, while expressing his solidarity with the victims.

Minister Prosper Dodiko at Bururi stadium

He asked the government to come to their aid. Finally, he pointed to the lack of a legal framework governing state workers with special status. He called for this framework to be put in place to facilitate the collection of taxes and increase production.

On the employers’ side, Théodore Kamwenubusa, President of the Burundi Employers’ Association (AEB), hoped that the government would find solutions to certain key challenges. He cited, among others, the availability of electricity, foreign currency and fuel. In his view, finding solutions to these challenges would make it possible to further increase productivity. In addition, he called for a stabilisation of the texts regulating the payment of taxes, finding that a number of changes in this area were destabilising producers. Finally, he urged the government to provide a high-speed internet connection. He also praised the government’s efforts to create a good working climate between workers and employers.

In Cankuzo province (eastern Burundi), the ceremonies were enhanced by the presence of the Prime Minister, Mr Gervais Ndirakobuca. The ceremonies took place at the Buhumuza stadium and began with a long parade opened by the staff of the Prime Minister’s office, followed by the provincial administration and the population from different socio-professional strata.

Mr Mélance Hakizimana, who represented the Confederation of Burundi Workers’ Unions (COSYBU), congratulated the government on its vision of a country emerging in 2040 and developed in 2060. However, he called for training in good governance for new public service managers, so that they can work more effectively for the well-being of the population. He went on to point out that life in Burundi is becoming increasingly expensive as a result of soaring commodity prices and the meagre wages received by workers, which is causing people to leave the country in search of a better life.

Prime Minister Ndirakobuca, after reading the speech to the nation delivered by the President of the Republic the previous day, urged the population to get down to self-development work in order to increase output. He advised the population not to listen to rumours, but rather to promote solidarity and mutual aid, and to safeguard peace and security.

In Bururi province (south-west), the ceremonies were attended by the Minister for the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock, Mr Dodiko Prosper. The festivities began with a long parade of public and private officials, schools and the general public.

The Minister of Justice, Mrs. Domine Banyankimbona

In various speeches delivered by the Bururi local administrator and the Bururi governor, they recounted the climatic hazards that had caused loss of life and material damage. The provincial governor, Col Léonidas Bandenzamaso, asked the population to avoid deforestation, to protect the slopes by digging contour lines, and to fight against the clear-cutting of trees. He said that the maize harvest had been very good and hoped that the bean harvest would be just as good if the rainfall remained healthy. Governor Bandenzamaso pointed out that this period is characterised by calm throughout the province, unlike last year when it was characterised by insecurity following killings with machetes. Minister Dodiko delivered the speech to the nation made by the Head of State the previous day, 30 April.

In Bubanza province (north-west Burundi), the commemorative ceremonies took place in the commune of Mpanda and were enhanced by the presence of the Minister of Justice, Domine Banyankimbona, a check on the site by ABP has revealed.

In his speech, the governor of Bubanza province, Cléophas Nizigiyimana, expressed his satisfaction with agricultural production during the A cropping season, despite the climatic hazards that caused a great deal of human and material damage. He expressed his satisfaction at the smooth running of various provincial and communal services. On this occasion, Governor Nizigiyimana invited the people of Bubanza province to see this day as a good opportunity for introspection and to adopt strategies to increase production. He also called on them to concentrate their efforts on the agro-pastoral sector and to organise themselves into self-development cooperatives for household development, with a view to achieving the vision of Burundi emerging in 2040 and developed in 2060. He asked the heads of departments to work towards satisfying the needs of the beneficiaries of their services. Referring to the disasters that have befallen local residents, he advised them to help each other. The other appeal was to safeguard peace and security, and not to listen to rumours in this pre-electoral period.

Minister Banyankimbona delivered the speech to the nation made by the Head of State on 30 April.