The President signed a decree withdrawing BIF 7,400 million from the budget and transferring it to the 2015 election process. The decree was signed on August 30, but was not made public until last week.-J.Berchmans Siboniyo
Complaints and consternation fill the hearts of the beneficiaries. Cecile Ntahondereye, the Headmistress of Lycée Ijenda is very disappointed. “We held many meetings with government members. We showed them the danger of Mujejuru hill that threatens the western part of our school. We were expecting imminent rehabilitation before loss of lives. This is very bad news for us.”LycéeIjenda was promised BIF 200,000,000 for rehabilitation of the school building. That amount is now moved to the election process.
Vital Nshimirimana, the Chairman of FORSC (Forum pour le Renforcement de la Société Civile au Burundi) finds the budget cuts very shortsighted. “This is not acceptable! School buildings, hospitalequipment, the rehabilitation of rivers and the strategic fund for food security are not to be neglected. This is a hasty, unwise and dangerous decision.”
Money is taken from sensible sectors such as the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Energy and Mining, the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of the Public Works and Equipment.
“Burundi needs money tofill the gap and start the electoral process”, says Vital Nshimirimana.
“The creation of provincial and communal electoral committees involves payment of the staff working there. The registration of voters is already behind. However, donors are reluctant to help Burundi because it failed to ensure a political atmosphere profitable for all politicians of different parties. This is the reason why the government searches for money elsewhere and sacrificesvital sectors”, Nshimirimana says.
The Chairman of FORSC says there are other alternatives to find the funds for the 2015 electoral process. Changing the spending behavior, for example. “Other countries take austerity measures.” He indicates that there is a budget line for the President entitled ‘goodactions’ and states that the government should use this money instead.
The amount of money needed for the election process is sixty million US dollar. France has donated 200,000 Euros, the Netherlands 1,3 million US dollars and the United States 3,5 million US dollars. Other countries have promised to donate. Including the money retrieved from other budget lines, the government has now secured about 15% of the budgeted amount necessary for the elections.