The commission on Transport Reform submitted its plans to the Ministry of Transport, Public works and Equipment in July. The Minister has yet to respond.-By Yves Didier Irakoze
According to Claude Mpawenimana, General Director of Transport, the main reason for reforming the transport sector is the neglected state of the publictransport system in Burundiand the disorder on the roads, including the trouble caused by old and polluting cars.
A commission of drivers, cars owner and staff members of the transport sectorwas set up to investigate what can be done to improve the sector in the near future. Thecommissionreported to the General Director of Transport, who is now awaiting Ministerial approval to inaugurate the plans.
The Director General describes the benefits of the reform as follows. “Passengers will be driven in good cars and there will be good organization. Those who complain that they are not cared for or mistreated by the taxi drivers won’t feel the need to do so. Bus and taxi owners will be able to make more profit and will get the means to get good and comfortable cars to replace the old ones”, Mpawenimanastates.
He adds that by improving the organization of the transport sector, more taxes will flow into the treasury of the government. “We will increase control over who works in the transport sector. Traffic jams will decrease andtraffic regulations will be abided by.”
The Transport Ministry is currently implementing a sensitization program to explain the process and inform those involved.
BoscoMinani, Main Counselor for the Association of Touts of Burundi (ATRABU) indicates that they welcome the initiative from the transport sector. He said that the commission urges drivers and car owners to start cooperatives to limit the number of people who work in the sector. As a cooperative they cancombine savings in order to get a Bank guaranteeto buy big buses that can hold upto70 passengers. “We will get those cars through the BBC Enterprise that operates in Rwanda. Our lawyers are already talking and a study is underway”, states Minani.
He appreciates the reforms because it will make his work easier. “Buses will be on time, they will have their own routes and when passengershave a problem we can locate where the problem originates, because all the buses will be under scrutiny. The country will also gain because if transport is more organized, the number of tourists will increase”, Minanideclares.
To increase the effectiveness of the project, Minaniasks the government to rehabilitate roads and build big bus stations with international standards.