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The Commissioner General of the OBR Begins 2015 by meeting with the Taxpayers PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 09 January 2015 15:41

CGThe Commissioner General Dr. Domitien Ndihokubwayo met the administrative authorities and traders of Ngozi and Muyinga provinces, Monday 5 and Tuesday 6 January 2015 to discuss the tax and customs issues of the day.

 The fight against fraud, the translation of laws in Kirundi, the display of tariffs, the taxes deemed very high by traders, the behavior of some agents of the OBR to taxpayers, training traders to taxation and awareness, these were the topics that have dominated the two meetings that lasted four hours each.Each of two sessions began with the very detailed introductory remarks the Commissioner General on what the OBR is and its mission.

According to Dr. Ndihokubwayo, “the Burundi Revenue Authority is not a private body which does everything to maximize revenues for its own account as did believe some opinion at its creation in 2009.  Rather, it is a government body created to maximize revenue collection for the public treasury to fight against poverty and promote economic development in Burundi”.

The Commissioner General also showed the legal framework of the OBR activities. He referred to the International Customs Law, sub-regional as the EAC Common External Tariff and the national law on income. He also mentioned the retroactive nature of the taxes on the taxpayer. "With the taxes you and we pay the salaries of civil servants are paid regularly, health centers and hospitals, schools, hydroelectric and irrigation dams are built to improve the well-being of the people", he said.

The Commissioner General announced the new French slogan of the OBR is now: "Je suis fier de contribuer à la construction du Burundi” which can translated as “I am proud to contribute to the construction of Burundi" adopted in to replace the former “Soyons fiers d’être des contribuables et construisons notre pays” which means "Let us be proud to be taxpayers and build our country". According to Dr. Ndihokubwayo, this slogan change was motivated by the fact that a taxpayer acts as an individual; and taxpayers in Burundi are not only Burundians.

All participants in these meetings were unanimous on the appropriateness of paying taxes, but asked for more improvements. "We know that our country will develop only through the taxes we pay, but we want less restrictive laws among other improvements", they said. They also require the translation of tax and customs laws in Kirundi as most traders have not attended school.

The Commissioner General said the desired translation of all laws is neither necessary nor possible for the moment. But he promised that some key sections of the laws that relate directly to taxpayers will soon be translated into Kirundi and distributed to taxpayers. Traders of the two provinces require that the OBR closely monitor the behavior of some of its agents who use bad language when addressing the taxpayers or who use brutal methods when fighting against fraud.

The Commissioner General said the OBR must act according to law and the Code of Conduct requires courtesy of the staff towards taxpayers. Indicating that more than 50 officers who have misbehaved in their work have already been dismissed from the OBR, he asked taxpayers to report, with supporting evidence, the offending agents so as the legal action can be taken.

As for the display of these laws, Dr. Ndihokubwayo indicated that this is not feasible given the large volume of these laws, but the EAC Common External Tariff and the Management Law of EAC Customs are available everywhere in customs clearance offices OBR. And he insisted that the OBR is not competent to revise the taxes, but that the OBR acts as tax advisor of the competent authorities.

View of the participants at the meeting in Ngozi

At the end of these sessions, the Commissioner General asked the traders to choose three representatives from each province who will be the interlocutors of the OBR’s management for the general issues to be resolved as far as possible in real time.

In addition to these meetings the Commissioner General went on Monday afternoon, to welcome to at Gasenyi (Kirundo) One Stop Border Post Mrs. Didier Reynders Alexander De Croo, respectively Belgian Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation to Development who came to Burundi for a two-day working visit.

The Commissioner General welcomes the two Belgian Deputy Prime Ministers at Gasenyi OSBP