- The Burundian opposition has charged that the government is likely to abuse state resources after the debt cancellation of US $134.3 million by the Paris club on Wednesday.
Opposition Front for Democracy in Burundi spokesman, Pancrase Cimpaye, said the funding would not help the country’s poor, but would rather be diverted to finance the ruling party’s campaign for next year’s election.
However the government has cast aside opposition charges saying they were unfounded, pledging its commitment to use the funding to address the priority areas identified in the poverty reduction strategy.
The Paris Club of creditors’ nations cancelled all the debt owed by Burundi, praising the Burundi administration for its ambitious and well planned poverty reduction strategy in its economic programme.
Although the opposition applauded the decision of debt cancellation by the club, it said the government’s poor administration and lack of good governance is a major challenge to the government to administer and implement the programme, further saying the money will not benefit the ordinary people.
“Especially now that we are heading towards election, we expect that the money will not help Burundi's poor, but may be used only for the purposes of the election,” Mr Cimpaye said.
He said the government officials have for some time been using the money to enrich themselves instead of focusing on the country’s poor.
Burundi which was plagued by 12 year ethnic civil war remains one of the world's poorest nations. The country is currently engaged in building projects and establishing programmes to redeem the country out of chronic poverty.
The club said the cancellation represents 100 percent of the debt owed to its members by Burundi. The Paris Club is an informal group of creditor governments from major industrialised countries that negotiates debt restructuring with debtor countries.
Brurundi is seen to be now beginning to reap the dividends of a peace process. But it faces the formidable tasks of reviving a shattered economy and of forging national unity.
President Pierre Nkurunziza, a Hutu former rebel leader, became the first president to be chosen in democratic elections since the start of Burundi's civil war.
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