BUJUMBURA December 18th (ABP) – Burundian entrepreneurs face legal constraints that prevent them from flourishing in their entrepreneurial journey, according to law doctor Emery Nukuri, who spoke in Bujumbura on Monday December 16, 2019, during his presentation of an analysis he conducted on “The legal constraints that govern regulatory agencies like the BBN and CNTA and others that block free enterprise in Burundi”.
That study was commissioned by the Center for development and enterprises (CDE-Great Lakes) as part of its “Birashoboka” campaign which aims to reduce poverty in Burundi. The university professor noted that significant progress has been made on the side of the Burundi Investment Promotion Authority (API) in the creation of businesses, which he says is an encouragement to investors.
However, despite these steps already taken, not everything is good, according to Dr Nukuri, who evokes inter alia the absence of the means to see if the created companies function normally, if certain created companies exist only due to the law because they have no head office or do not really work, and the lack of a center for assessment that does not allow it to assess the economic performance of the companies created.
However, at the next stage, the company that wants to market its products finds it difficult to obtain a certificate of conformity for its product, which is granted by the BBN, in accordance with the law.
According to Dr. Nukuri, BBN inspectors are out in the field to do the inspection within three days of being billed for the costs of testing the product, he said. When the entrepreneur has already paid within 10 days, the BBN should normally give him the results of the analyses on the basis of which it must issue the certificate of conformity, he said.
In practice, he said, the BBN takes longer to certify products, which results in losses for entrepreneurs. The reason is that the BBN, which does not have its own laboratory 100% equipped to carry out analyses itself, resorts to other external laboratories.
Added to this major constraint is the inadequacy of vehicles for transporting samples and the qualified personnel of the BBN who are often tempted to go to work in other laboratories which pay better than the BBN.
At this level, that university professor encourages the government to take initiatives going in the direction of improving working conditions, seeking financial means with the support of partners to equip laboratories so that certification should be made on time. Those initiatives could, in a way, encourage entrepreneurs to have their products certified and prevent the capital flight and brain drain abroad.
According to that study, it is remarkable that following those constraints linked to certification, few businesses are created in the agricultural sector. In fact, according to official statistics, 2,289 companies were created at the API in 2018, an increase of 5.4% compared to 2016.
In terms of jobs, the 2,289 companies created expect to increase 10.6% compared to the previous year. However, it is noted that only 4% of the businesses created job in the agriculture and livestock sector. In 2019, the API registered 3,430 companies, which represents a 54% increase in new businesses compared to 2018.
In any event, it is very remarkable that the agriculture and livestock sector, which normally supports the Burundian population over 90%, does not attract many entrepreneurs because only 4% are created in this sector, said Dr Nukuri, indicating that there is still a long way to go for the country to process and certify agro-food products.