By Egide Lucky
During an evaluation workshop on dividend payment on 14th September, the Prime Minister accused public companies of poor management marred with nepotism and embezzlement. Directors of those companies said that government debts impede their development.
“Some companies have many employees compared to the job to be done,” said Alain Guillaume Bunyoni, Burundi Prime Minister, adding that there has been nepotism and favoritism in their employment. According to him, some managers hire their relatives and friends without available tasks to be undertaken.
He deplored that some public companies’ managers embezzle or misuse public things. “If that has been your habit in the last years, you must understand that now is the time to change. We are a new generation that must bring about change,” he told them.
Among others, the prime minister pointed a finger at Regideso (Burundi power and water supplier) and ONATEL (national telecommunication company) for poor management. “Imagine that clients ask for invoices for four months and these companies still tell them that they are not yet available,” he complained. A company cannot be developed if months go by without payments from clients, he added.
Alain Guillaume Bunyoni called on the public companies to immediately design recovery plans.
“Every employee from high rank to the bottom must have concrete activities. If they can’t perform them well, they have to leave the company,” he recommended to managers of public companies.
He also reminded them that public things like vehicles are to be used exclusively for company’s affairs.
Of 36 public companies, 12 did not pay dividends to the government from 2014 to 2020 and their turnover is under zero, shows a study presented during the same evaluation workshop. 24 public companies have returned to the government over 150 billion BIF of dividends from 2014 to 2020.
According to the same study, in some companies, employees are paid salaries superior to their company’s income.
As solution, the prime minister suggests that some companies reduce the number of employees and salaries.
Companies hold the government responsible
According to Charles Ndagijimana, Director general of SOCABU (a Burundian public insurance company), the government is also responsible for bankruptcy in some public companies.
“The government owes some companies billions of money. These means should help us improve the financial stability of our companies. It is difficult to develop our companies with all those government debts,” he said.
Privat Kabeba, ONATEL director general regretted that the government favors private telecommunication companies, what is for him one of the reasons for his company’s bankruptcy.
He recognizes that ONATEL has many employees, some of whom are not effective on the job. He, also, assumes that the company has an old staff that is no longer productive.
The prime minister Alain Guillaume Bunyoni said that the bankruptcy responsibility is shared between companies and the government. “The government should have been careful about the management of both public and private companies, because their bankruptcy affects the country’s financial situation,” he also said.
He promised that the government will pay all debts to public companies as soon as possible.