Burundi : inhabitants of Bujumbura city can no longer bear the high cost of living

Burundi : inhabitants of Bujumbura city can no longer bear the high cost of living

The population of the commercial city Bujumbura is indignant at the excessively high prices of foodstuffs on the market. Families are no longer able to provide three meals a day for children as before. Evoking a derisory salary in the face of an exponential rise in the purchase price, the inhabitants accuse the government of failing to materialize its fine speeches. The threat of famine has never been so palpable for thousands of households. INFO SOS Médias Burundi

Alerted by the alarming situation in all corners of the country, SOS Médias Burundi made a micro sidewalk in the commercial capital.

It is 8:30 a.m. this Thursday, March 30, 2023, the time to go to the market for the majority of servants in the commercial capital Bujumbura.

The first is a servant in a hurry with a small bag in his hand in a neighborhood of the district of Mukaza (center). Asked how the current market situation looks, he sadly replies that “the big problem today is that we no longer get along with our bosses because of the excessively high food prices”.

“To feed a family of 7 people, I have to be given between 20 and 25 thousand francs every day, just for rice, beans and potatoes and what goes with it. Not two weeks ago, 1 kg of rice was bought at 3600 Burundi francs, but the price has increased by 400 francs. Prices of all these products are changing day by day, which is a problem”, he complained.

Not far from there, another head of family agrees to talk to us. He admits that families are seriously affected by the high cost of food. For him, soon there will not even be two meals a day in some families. “People can no longer ration themselves to less than 15,000 francs. Above all, if you hope to feed your children with the monthly salary, you can no longer do so. We have to manage and find the money by other means in order to meet the needs of the households”, he says with distress.

And he added with melancholy, “Currently, some heads of households are trying to spend time outside and come home later to avoid problems of disagreement with their wives for lack of money”.

Traders meanwhile ask the government to regulate prices of all products on the market. They explain that they experience the same difficulties as consumers, because when they buy supplies at a high price, they have to sell at a higher price.

If the situation is like this in Bujumbura, the discontent is the same in other provinces of the country. Even if inhabitants are sounding the alarm, Burundian officials are continuing their campaign to call on the population to “work hard for the development of the country”.

Recently, the Burundian president indicated that there is no lack of work in Burundi, that there are only “lazy people who do not want to work, unlike Europe where there are plenty of unemployed people”. And to drive his point home, the speaker of the National Assembly meanwhile indicated that Europeans are starving. “When they come here, they ask us to cook for them, even when they return home, they ask us to make them packets of food to take away. We, our currency is the strongest in the sub-region. Let us not deceive you”, he seduced inhabitants of his native province of Kayanza (north) a few days ago.

Despite the evidence of the ambient gloom, it was reported that more than 20 tons of rice were loaded on a plane chartered by Equatorial Guinea on March 28 at Bujumbura airport.

Unverified and unconfirmed information indicates that this rice was sold by the First Lady of Burundi. The case raises questions in the public opinion at a time when the price of rice went up to six thousand francs per kilo for the first time in the history of the smallest East African state.

The country is also ranked the poorest in the world in various reports from specialized institutions. Recently, President Ndayishimiye, who acknowledges that “I don’t have a tap from which fuel and dollars flow”, attacked a local organization which had asked him to take measures aimed at reducing the price of foodstuffs.

“You are going to hear people like Rufyiri asking me in the media to reduce food prices while they are not working. They remain clogged in their offices in Bujumbura and don’t want to work. If we tell them to raise at least five rabbits and go to farm, they don’t listen to us. Does he want me to give him the milk from my cows or the production of my potatoes for free? He spends all his time listening to the gossip of old people. They have outdated ideas. Young people, we must ignore these people. They are in a world of the 90s. They have rotten ideas”, he said on the sidelines of an event bringing together young people in the political capital Gitega, last week.

He was responding to the president of Olucome (Observatory for the fight against corruption and economic embezzlement), Gabriel Rufyiri, whose organization has seen two of its activities on the high cost of living and the embezzlement of public funds disturbed during the last two weeks, by the police despite prior authorization from the ministry in charge of managing civil society associations.

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