Burundi's opposition FRODEBU party has
welcomed a move by the Paris club totally cancelling the debt the country owes,
but claims President Pierre Nkurunziza's government will mismanage the funds. The opposition
says despite goodwill from other international support, the government has so
far failed to live up to its promises. But the government rejects FRODEBU's
accusation as baseless, adding that it is committed to using resources freed by
the debt cancellation for priority areas identified in the poverty reduction
strategy. The Paris Club of
sovereign creditors Wednesday cancelled all the debt owed by Burundi, praising
Bujumbura for what it describes as its ambitious economic program. It agreed to
write off about $125-million, amounting to 96 percent of the Burundi's debt
stock at the end of 2008. Opposition
FRODEBU spokesman Pancrase Cimpaye tells reporter Peter Clottey that the money
would be used for the ruling party's propaganda ahead of next year's election.
decision of the debt cancellation is a good decision, but unfortunately, we
don't have good governance in our country right now. We are afraid that that
money would not be used to help the poor people of Burundi because for the last
three or four years, we have seen the ruling party using money not to help the
ordinary people of Burundi, but to help themselves," Cimpaye said.
He said the ruling
CNDD-FDD (Conseil National pour la
Defense de la Democratie-Forces pour la Defense de la Democratie) party is only
interested in winning next year's election.
"Especially now that we are heading towards
election, we expect that that money will not help Burundi's poor, but maybe
used only for the purposes of the election," he said.
Cimpaye said the
government will not use the money to help poor Burundians as it promised to
both local and international donors.
"That is the main
problem which is the fact that the government is not going to live up to its
promise or word to use the money to help the poor. I can give you an example,
like when over two million dollars was budgeted for the ministry of water, but
the person who was supposed to use the money for the ministry, who is a
director from our FRODEBU party. But when it was time for him to use the funds,
he was told by the minister that he shouldn't touch the budgeted money, but
that it would be used by the president's office. This is unbelievable. I'm
telling you that the debt cancellation won't help Burundi in any way," Cimpaye
as unfortunate claims by the government that it would reduce poverty.
"I tell you that
the money will not help in reducing poverty like the government told the
international community. It would only be used for propaganda and for other
businesses. Maybe the president will buy his house or build one in other
countries, but that money won't help Burundians," he said.
Paris Club adds that its
creditors are also committed to cancelling another $4.8 million owed by Burundi
on a bilateral basis.