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MEDIA RELEASE CONSECUTIVE TO THE CABINET MEETING HELD ON WEDNESDAY 06 MARCH 2019

A Cabinet Meeting was held on Wednesday 06 March 2019 under the chairmanship of His Excellency Pierre Nkurunziza, President of the Republic of Burundi. The following items were analyzed :

1. Bill pertaining to the ratification by the Republic of Burundi the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products, presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Burundi has ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control since 2005 and the relevant provisions of this Convention have been incorporated into the law on the Code of Provision of Health Care and Services in Burundi of 2018. Although the tobacco trade is regulated in Burundi as in other countries, the illicit trade of tobacco and tobacco products is noticeable and fraud is commonplace.

This fraud is practiced by traders as well as by organizations, structures or individuals who take advantage of the facilities granted to them to smuggle tobacco or tobacco products. This illicit trade makes tobacco available and at affordable prices leading to greater consumption especially among young people. This undermines the effectiveness of the measures implemented by the parties under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control to protect citizens from the harmful consequences of tobacco use. The purpose of this Protocol is to eliminate all forms of illicit trade in tobacco products in accordance with the provisions of this Convention.

The ratification of this Protocol will make it possible to reduce the illegal channels of production and marketing of tobacco products and, consequently, the increase in the price of tobacco. This increase in the price of tobacco will reduce its accessibility by the population, which will thus be protected from its harmful consequences.
After exchange and debate the project was adopted by finalizing aspects of form by a team designated for this purpose.

2. Bill on the Peaceful Use, Safety and Security of Nuclear Energy and Ionizing Radiation, presented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Burundi joined the International Atomic Energy Agency in 2009. But it was in 2016 that regional and national projects using nuclear techniques and sciences began to be developed and presented to the Agency on behalf of Burundi. Even before joining the Agency, radioactive sources were sometimes used in Burundi in complete ignorance and unchecked of their harmful effects on their users, the population and the environment. Most of these sources were used since the colonial era and are scattered on our territory. They deserve to be collected and kept in a safe place arranged for this purpose, in order to protect the population from its harmful effects.

Unfortunately, until today, there is no specific regulation on the use of ionizing radiation or radiological devices. With this project, Burundi, like the other member countries of the East African Community, wants to have a law that regulates practices using ionizing radiation.

At the end of the discussions and debate, the Council noted that the project needed to be reworked and appointed a team for this purpose. The reworked project will be brought back to the Council of Ministers within a month.

3. Draft Decree establishing, assigning, organizing and operating the Burundian Office of Urban Planning and Housing "OBUHA", presented by the Office of Second vice President of the Republic.

The Burundian population continues to grow in both rural and urban areas. This continued growth of the urban population implies a continuous growth of housing needs. In the past, policies have been devised by successive governments since independence, but no lasting solution has been found.

The structures set up to deal with housing issues sometimes have missions that no longer fit the requirements of the moment. They therefore need to be restructured so that they respond as efficiently as possible to changes in housing demand, especially in urban centers.

The solution proposed by this draft decree is to bring together some existing institutions involved in the field of urban planning, housing and construction to better organize them in the same structure in this case the Burundian Office of the Urban Planning and Housing "OBUHA".
After exchange and debate, the Council returned it to be enriched by the contributions that were made. The reworked project will be brought back to the Council of Ministers within a month.

4. Draft decree establishing and organizing the structures of the Multisectoral Platform for Food Security and Nutrition (PMSAN) in Burundi, presented by the Office of Second vice President of the Republic.

The Multisectoral Platform for Food Security and Nutrition (PMSAN) in Burundi was set up in February 2014 with the main mission of coordinating all efforts and guiding policies and sectoral plans in the context of developing food security and nutrition and advocacy for resource mobilization.

The legal framework governing its structures is no longer adapted to the government structure that changed in 2018. Indeed, some of the platform’s member ministries changed their name or merged with others. There is therefore a need to adapt the composition of the Platform to this evolution.

After discussion and exchange, the project was adopted with a team appointed to finish it.

5. Draft decree creating, assigning, organizing and operating the Burundi Road Agency, presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and Land Use Planning.

On December 21, 2018, the Council of Ministers analyzed a Note on the problem of road maintenance. After noting the problem of the road network and the recommended solutions, the Council noted problems in the structures dealing with the road network and recommended that the three entities involved in road maintenance namely the Roads Authority, the National Road Fund and the Equipment Rental Agency, be merged into one to make it a single lightweight structure.

The team set up to work on this issue has resulted in the creation of a Public Establishment of an administrative nature called "Burundi Road Agency", subject of this draft decree. The main mission of the Agency will be to ensure multi-year planning, supervision, coordination of road maintenance activities and construction of new roads.

After discussion and exchange, the project was adopted with a team appointed to finish it.

6. Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of Burundi and MANGO TREE Group Co Ltd on the project for the promotion of lake transport on Lake Tanganyika, presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and Land Use Planning.

Lake Tanganyika constitutes an opportunity for opening up and transporting linking Burundi to Tanzania, to the Democratic Republic of Congo and to Zambia. Burundi urgently needs ships capable of transporting goods and people through the ports of these three countries. To meet this need, MANGO TREE Group Co Ltd offered to promote lake transport on Lake Tanganyika through the construction of a mixed cargo and passenger boat to and from these different ports. This is the purpose of this draft Memorandum. It should be noted that the Council of Ministers had already analyzed this draft and returned it to be reworked.

After analyzing the reworked project, the Council of Ministers adopted it with slight corrections.

7. Draft Ministerial Order laying down the procedures for the implementation of the project for the modernization of the technical inspection services and the granting of transport authorizations, presented by the Minister of Transport, Public Works, Equipment and Land Use Planning.

Since 2001, the Government of Burundi has undertaken major reforms to develop and strengthen the capacity of public institutions in the transport sector. It is in this context that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed in March 2014 between the Ministry in charge of Transport and the Global Smart Technologies Company (GST) Burundi for the modernization, security and computerization of services tasked with controlling technical assistance and the granting of transport licenses, followed in April 2015 by the signing of a Public-Private Partnership Agreement in relation to these services.

This draft order translates the commitments already made by the Government through the two documents mentioned above. It is worth emphasizing that this project was analyzed by the Council of Ministers and returned to be reworked.

At the end of the analysis of the reworked project, the Council noted that the project needed to be reworked in some aspects, and consequently set up a team that will finalize it and bring it back to the Council of Ministers within two weeks.

8. Note on the use of Pics bags for the conservation of agricultural products in Burundi, presented by the Minister of the Environment, Agriculture and Livestock.

Burundi has taken the agricultural sector as a priority in order to promote economic development and especially to improve food security. To achieve this mission, programs of diversification and regionalization of food crops have been adopted and implemented. These programs have resulted in performance in increasing production.

Faced with this encouraging situation, the Government is investing to maintain and increase, better conserve and transform production. Unfortunately, farmers often suffer losses when storing or storing grain for lack of means because of weevils and pests that devastate stored crops. The present note concerns the use of pic bags to improve the methods of conservation of agricultural products and thus reduce post-harvest losses. Pic bags are hermetically sealed, airtight, three-layer, chemical-free bags that greatly help control diseases and pests that attack stock products.

Considering the importance of these bags for the conservation of agricultural products, the Council endorsed their use.

9. Any Other Business

  • The Minister of Human Rights, Social Affairs and Gender spoke of the International Women’s Day to be celebrated in Gitega on Friday, March 8, 2019. He also spoke about the work of the United Nations Human Rights Council he had just attended.
  • The Minister of Finance, Budget and Cooperation for Economic Development informed the Council that the vulgarization work of the National Development Plan started on Monday, March 04, 2019

Done at Bujumbura, March 07, 2019

Prosper NTAHORWAMIYE
Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-

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