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Assemblée Nationale du Burundi


Home » English » Law Vote » Analysis and adoption in plenary


publie le Friday 27 October 2023
parCommunication and Spokesperson’s Office

The Minister of Communication, Information Technology, and Media regretted on Thursday, October 26, 2023, that the contract between the Telecommunications Regulation and Control Agency (ARCT) and its technical partner, Information Technology System (ITS), is an adhesion contract. Madame Léocadie Ndacayisaba, who advocates for win-win contracts based on the contribution of each party and the vision of Burundi 2040, 2060, stated that this contract needs to be revised as it was poorly negotiated. She was defending the draft law on electronic and postal communications codes, which was unanimously passed.

The Government representative also highlighted some innovations in the draft law under analysis. In addition to consolidating the regulation of the electronic communications and postal sectors and regulating competition under one institution, it defines the legal frameworks applicable to these sectors and ensures consumer protection in electronic commerce and personal data.

During the plenary session, the causes of repeated internet connection disruptions or complete lack of connection were questioned, especially as mobile phone companies continue to increase prices. According to the Government Member, several factors contribute to this situation. If a subscriber has limited megabytes on their mobile phone while the network is congested, it is inevitable that the speed will be slow. Additionally, the connection may not respond when a subscriber tries to download a large file without sufficient MBs on their phone. The generation of the internet connection affects the speed, depending on whether it is from antennas or fiber optics.

To address this situation, the Government has improved the legal environment to attract foreign investors, reassured Minister Léocadie Ndacayisaba, who also highlighted the ongoing project called Karfen, which aims to provide internet access to everyone. The Universal Service Fund, another project in the process of being enacted, will also provide a breath of fresh air in terms of internet connectivity.

Regarding the daily increase in prices, this is a result of the dialogue between the ARCT and the mobile phone companies. The plenary raised the question of what will happen to the scattered antennas that belong to the SMART company, which has closed its doors. According to the Government representative, SMART is a subsidiary of the Lacel company. Only the mobile phone license has been suspended after the usual procedures, including a warning and negotiations. If the company settles its outstanding debts, it will be able to resume its activities. Once this condition is met, there is a project to merge the SMART and ONATEL companies in terms of mobile telephony.

The implementation of this law after its enactment requires several regulatory texts, specifically 18 decrees. The plenary drew the Minister’s attention to the risk of drowning the legislative domain with the regulatory domain, especially since the legislative branch no longer has the right to oversee these implementing texts. The proposal was made to reduce this number to two or three legal texts. The common ground is that parliamentarians should be involved in the drafting of these implementing texts.

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