Each Burundian franc collected contributes to the well-being of children
Good public finance management at national and local levels promotes the living conditions of its citizens, including children.
We are in Rutoke, in the Mungwa zone of the Commune of Gitega (Gitega province). Today is market day. We meet Evelyne, 32 years old, who has been working for 3 years as an assistant accountant in the Commune of Gitega. She is one of the 56 local authorities who have been trained in public finance management through UNICEF support. She invites us to visit the Rutoke market where merchants display their products and invite us to buy them.
In the middle of the market, Adidja, 30 years old, is collecting municipal taxes in exchange for municipal receipts. Meanwhile, Evelyne visits the whole market to check if all the merchants have paid their taxes. “Thanks to the training on public finance management I received, including tax compliance, I was able to sensitize all traders to pay the municipal tax on the sale of their products. This has enabled the Commune of Gitega to register an increase in tax and non-tax revenues. Before this training, these merchants were reluctant to pay taxes and to declare the goods they sold," says Evelyne.
Today, the local authorities are compliant with the public expenditure chain from budget commitment to disbursement, and the municipalities budgets for expenditure respect the budget nomenclature. Thus, it is easy to analyze the revenue collection by economic nature and allocation. Local authorities have regularly organized awareness raising sessions for taxpayers.
Aline, a market vendor in Rutoke, saw no point in paying taxes before. But, after the local authorities' visits to explain the importance of paying the taxes which will finance projects in their localities, she is now happy to contribute to the development of her commune. “My son used to walk more than 15km to go to school. Now, a school has been built near our house and he can go without getting tired. When I learned that this school was built with tax revenue from the Commune, I understood the importance of paying them,” she confided.
This public financial management training has enabled 270 public authorities1 to familiarize themselves with municipal planning, the preparation and execution of municipal budgets, the procedures for the management and award of public contracts, as well as municipal budgetary control. The main tool used is the municipal administrative and financial procedures manual and other legal framework documents related to public financial management. Thanks to this capacity building programme, the Commune of Gitega registered 8.6 per cent improvement in revenue, which have increased from BIF 330,450,134 (US$167,634.372) in May 2020 to BIF 358,979,155 (US$176,913.713) in May 2022.
However, challenges still hinder the sustainability of this initiative supported by UNICEF, with the support of the United Nations Multi Partner Trust, namely the lack of the equipment like the computers for data entry related to financial operations, the lack of an Integrated Financial Management Information System, the dissemination of the municipal taxation law currently being promulgated, and the manual of administrative and financial procedures among public finance managers, especially for the budget lines and their wording, knowledge-building sessions, etc.
 Administrative and Financial Advisors to Governors, Administrators, Permanent Secretaries of Communes, Accountants, Payment Accounting Managers, Communal Planning Officers, the Chairpersons of the finance commission of the municipal councils.
 Exchange rate at the end of May 2020: US$1 = 1,970.550 BIF
 Exchange rate at the end of May 2022: US$1 = 2,029.120 BIF