Good governance activist calls for transparency in mineral exploitation

Burundi is one of the countries rich in mineral resources. The government has signed contracts with some companies that are going to extract these minerals. PARCEM, a local NGO advocating good governance, worries that the exploitation of these minerals has not created a value-added benefit for the entire population due to the lack of transparency.

Faustin Ndikumana, Chairman of PARCEM: “We call for more transparency in the identification of extractive industries"

Faustin Ndikumana, Chairman of PARCEM: “We call for more transparency in the identification of extractive industries”

“We call for transparency in the identification of extractive industries,” says Faustin Ndikumana, the chairman of PARCEM. For him, the government should know the past of these companies, their experience in the field, their notoriety to avoid contracts made in opacity.

He also says signing a contract for mineral exploitation requires a thorough knowledge and experience in the field.

Ndikumana calls on the government to find experts in the domain before signing the contracts. “Multinational companies that extract minerals are experienced in the field. We must avoid signing unbalanced contracts, “he insists.

PARCEM chairman says companies that exploit these minerals should make public the amount of money they pay. “The government must also publish what they receive to show that this operation generates a proportional income,” he says.

The chairman of PARCEM states that the Regulatory Agency must provide technical assistance to the government. It must act as an intermediary between the government and these extractive industries. “The Ministries of Energy, Finances, Environment, Burundi Revenue Authority and Burundi Central Bank need to work together to get control over foreign currencies generated from these minerals,” said Ndikumana.

Ndikumana also urges the government to create sovereign wealth fund to properly identify the contribution of the mineral sector to economic development.

In October 2017, Gilbert Midende, Director of Rainbow Burundi Mining (RBM) that is extracting rare earth in Gakara locality, declared that the contracts signed between RBM and Burundi Government are published on the company website and in Burundi Official Bulletin.

The RBM Director affirmed that the government and the whole population will gain much from the mining project in Gakara as the latter will have a positive impact on the country’s economy.