Governance

Government measures not appropriate in current situation, says corruption watchdog

During the last cabinet meeting, participants analyzed and approved a draft bill on the state budget for 2019-2020 fiscal-year which moved from BIF 1,400.7 billion to BIF 1,500 billion. OLUCOME, however, denounces the decision.

Gabriel Rufyiri: “Burundi government will mobilize 83% of the state budget for 2019-2020 fiscal-year when seven out of ten Burundians live under poverty line”.

Gabriel Rufyiri, chairman of OLUCOME -a corruption watchdog says the government measures don’t match the current living conditions of the population. “About 72% of Burundians live in poverty according to the studies conducted by the World Bank, the African Bank for Development and the International Monetary Fund when they worked out the revenue per habitat”, he says adding that the growth rate is also estimated at 0. 4%.

Rufyiri deplores the increase of the state budget while Burundians live in dire straits. “ Burundi government will mobilize 83% of the state budget for 2019-2020 fiscal year when seven out of ten Burundians live under poverty line”, he says.

Prosper Ntahorwamiye, Spokesperson for Burundi government said further steps will be taken to increase the tax base, combat fraud and tax evasion, strengthen the collection of arrears and control exemptions. “The state budget has moved from BIF 1,400.7 billion in 2018-2019 to BIF 1,516.2 billion for the fiscal year 2019-2020 with an increase of 8.2%”, he said. The total resources of the State General Budget were estimated at BIF 1,327.1 billion Fbu against BIF 1,237.1 billion for the 2018/2019 fiscal year with an increase of 7.3%.

Ntahorwamiye also said the overall deficit of the 2019/2020 General Budget thus amounts to BIF 189.2 billion against BIF 163.5 billion for the 2018/2019 fiscal year with an increase of BIF 25.7 billion.
He also said, the budgetary independence rate is estimated at 83.6% compared to 81.2% for the 2018-2019 fiscal- year.

Rufyiri urges Burundi government to tax people following their wealth. “Many high officials don’t pay taxes on their fortune”, he deplores the situation adding that the government should also reduce the exemption rate. “It is estimated at BIF 18 billion in the state budget but it was achieved at 600% last year”, he says.

He also suggests that the amount collected from Burundi peacekeeping in MINUSCA and AMISOM be considered in the state budget as well as the money from the mining sector. “It would be better if the government resumed good relations with financial partners who support Burundi”, he says.