Economy

API must set up new strategies to attract investors, says corruption watchdog

Burundi Investment Agency-API reports that 2289 companies have been registered with an expected 19 410 job created in 2017. Léonard Sentore, Director General of API says the number of companies registered has increased to 5, 3% while the employment expectations increased to 10, 6% compared to 2016 achievements.

Léonard Sentore: “We plan to do our best to offer proximity services to investors to better support and guide them”

Léonard Sentore: “We plan to do our best to offer proximity services to investors to better support and guide them”

Sentore says that 67% of the companies created in 2017 operated in trade and general services, 8% of registered enterprises are involved in health services while 7% are in the construction domain.

The Agri-business and mines, he says, occupy 4% and 5% of the registered companies respectively. “The owners are Burundians, members of the East African community, India and DRC,” he says.

The director general of API also says 24 certificates have been granted to eligible enterprises on the advantages offered by the investment code. “These 24 companies have an estimated capital of about BIF 200 billion and intend to create 2777 jobs,” he says.

He, however, says the limited financial means has prevented the agency from accomplishing its achievements. “We plan to do our best offer proximity services to investors to better support and guide them,” he says.

Gabriel Rufyiri, the chairman of the corruption watchdog says the protection and facilitation of the investors are not a reality in Burundi. He says investors do not get credits easily; electricity price and the tax are very high. “Burundi has moved from the 18thplaces to the 40th according to Doing business study in 2018,” he says.

Rufyiri believes API should change its strategies to facilitate investors. “Improving the political stability to attract investors and good governance must be the government’s priorities,” he says. He also mentions the reduction of the taxes, fight against corruption and economic embezzlement, easy issuance of visas, the production of enough electricity as well as fight against favoritism. “Companies continue to be created but the unemployment rate is still high,” he says.

Referring to nine indexes namely starting a Business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency, Burundi was ranked 164th out of 190 and fell off seven places comparing to 2017 Doing Business report.

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