4 October 2017

Burundi: Activists Demand National Assembly to Urge Government to Submit Budget Bill

In its opening session of this 2 October 2017, the National Assembly should start debating over the budget bill for 2018.The latter was not however submitted by the government. Activists appeal to the National Assembly to play its role.

Burundian activists demand members of parliament to play their role of dealing with issues affecting their country.

They say it is incomprehensible how the budget bill which has begun to be prepared since March cannot be submitted in October. Those activists say the delay to submit the budget bill has become a routine and appeal to the National Assembly to carefully follow the government's activities.

Faustin Ndikumana, Chairman of PARCEM, the local NGO concerned with awakening and changing people's mentality says the government cannot say the budget bill is not ready in October. "The agenda is actually prepared in March. It is studied in June and finalized in August to be brought before Parliament before October" He says all this period is sufficient to get in touch with partners, to make a list of priorities and give the detailed final budget bill .

Ndikumana also says delaying the submission of the budget bill has a number of consequences. "The budget bill is the foundation of all the country's programs and economy of the whole country. It has to be forwarded to MPs on time and to be carefully analysed," he says. He appeals to MPs to play their role by pushing the government to avoid such delay. "MPs have to know and play their roles. They have to be strict about the rules so as to push the government to plan its activities more carefully".

Gabriel Rufyiri, Chairman of the Observatory for the Fight against Corruption and Embezzlement (OLUCOME), says the delay of the government to submit the budget bill shows that there is a problem of good governance. He says the government does not respect its constitution: "In article 176 of the Burundi Constitution, it is stipulated that the National Assembly has to analyse the budget bill from October to December".

Rufyiri says by submitting other laws while ignoring the budget law, the government fails in its duties. He urges MPs to use their power so as to improve the situation. "MPs should ask members of the government to fulfil their duties", says Rufyiri.

Désire Musharitse, the Finance Ministry Spokesperson, says the ministry is still preparing the budget bill as it has to be carefully conceived, but reassures that it will soon be forwarded to the National Assembly.

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