EAC integration

“Burundi withdrawal from EAC would be big loss” says corruption watchdog

Gabriel Rufyiri chairman of OLUCOME, a local corruption watchdog, says there will be consequences for the country and Burundians if Burundi withdraws from the East African Community -EAC. “With the integration into the EAC, Burundi has benefited from the free movement of people and goods within the community,” he says.

He also says the country should contribute as it is required because it is the only way to move forward together with other countries that make up the EAC.

Mr. Rufyiri calls on the government to pay the debt so as to remain in the community. “Burundi should do its best to pay the debt to avoid being withdrawn from the East African Community”.

Isabelle Ndahayo, Minister in charge of the EAC affairs, says Burundi is paying the money that it owes to the EAC. She also says it cannot be removed from the EAC because it is protected by the rules that govern the community. “According to rules and regulations of the community, a country is penalized when it has exceeded a period of 18 months without paying what it owes to the community. Burundi cannot be penalized because it is proceeding with payment,” says Mrs Ndahayo.

The corruption watchdog reacts after the East African Community classified Burundi as the second country to owe a lot of money to the community. It is reported to owe over USD 11 billion and comes after South Sudan. EAC has warned countries that would not pay their debt before the end of the year to be punished.