Burundi: Prime Minister suspends fishermen associations’ fundraising

Burundi: Prime Minister suspends fishermen associations’ fundraising

More than 40 million Burundian francs unduly collected by the Burundi Fishermen’s Federation will be paid into the public treasury. A decision taken by the Prime Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca, after protests by owners of the fishing boats this Tuesday in Rumonge (Southwest of Burundi). Mr. Ndirakobuca was visiting the province whose head was newly appointed. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

The question was raised by a fishing boat owner on Lake Tanganyika. He pleaded for the suspension of the collection of a sum of 10 thousand Burundian francs required from each fishing team to have authorization to enter Lake Tanganyika.

These funds are collected from all the fishing teams from Kajaga in the town hall of Bujumbura (economic capital) to the Kabonga zone in the commune of Nyanza-Lac in the province of Makamba (south).

Fishermen’s bosses also denounced the collection of 15,000 Burundian francs per person.

The money should be paid into an account opened at the INSS (National Institute of Social Security).

The head of the Federation of Fishermen and Fish Suppliers of Burundi, Gabriel Toyi, to whom all the blame was directed, denied his involvement in collection of the money. He affirmed that the monthly sum of 15 thousand francs per fisherman was decided after consultations with the bosses of the fishermen and the fishermen themselves.

“But this money is not paid into the INSS account,” he admitted.

With regard to the fees paid to obtain the right of fishing, an account has been opened at the national post office. It was garnished with 40 million Burundian francs.

Prime Minister Gervais Ndirakobuca ordered to seize and freeze the money. Mr. Ndirakobuca said the money will be paid into the public treasury. In addition, the Prime Minister has prohibited any collection of funds by associations.

According to him, “no other body or group of individuals is authorized to collect funds from the population except the authorized public services (the municipality and the services of the Burundian Revenue Office, OBR)”.

The decision was warmly welcomed by fishing bosses.

They say that the amounts collected were shared between administrative and federation officials.

“Anyone who dared to denounce the collection of funds by this federation was threatened, arrested and thrown in prison before being treated as an enemy of the country”, they recall.

In more than 10 fishing ports along the coast of Lake Tanganyika, from Kajaga to Kabonga, the skippers-fishermen estimate that there are more than two thousand fishing teams.

Each fishing team has 8 fishermen, estimated at around 16,000.

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