Kieran Holmes welcomes the UK's Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for International Development, the Rt. Hon Stephen O'Brien to OBR on 23 April 2012.

Key Lessons Learned

  • Creation of revenue authority produces substantial revenue gains
  • Revenue Authority is a vital component in the fight against corruption
  • Transparency in staff selection and appointments is essential
  • Revenue Authority creation facilitates effective state building
  • One-stop border posts are essential for trade facilitation and regional integration

Extract from Stephen O'Brien's (Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, DFID) evidence to the House of Common's Select Committee on International Development on Tax in Developing Countries - 15th May 2012.

"...As ever, we want to do what we think will carry the most impact, be most effective, and certainly carry the most value for money. When you look at some of the efforts that have been applied by us in our working in Rwanda and Burundi on the development of their revenue authorities, the value-for-money figures are extraordinarily encouraging.

Question: Could you give us some examples of that?

Mr O'Brien:Yes. I might well call upon the experts to give the numbers, but I was recently in Burundi, a subject that we have discussed before, very much as part of that succession from where we have been working with the OBR, the Office Burundais des Recettes, and we are now really working with TradeMark East Africa to carry that forward. You have to be very careful with these numbers, because of course there would have been some revenues which would have come through anyway. However, on Burundi, if I can just look it up, it looks as though the OBR is on course to double its revenues over three years, providing an extra £85 million every year for the State. I do not have the number in front of me, but I think we contributed about £30 million in the end. That is in a country where, as you well know, the tax and customs service had topped the list of East Africa’s most corrupt organisations in Transparency International’s East African Bribery Index. That is a good example."


Revenue collection and OBR's contribution to Burundi's public expenditure, 2009-13.






OBR collection (A) 301.21 362.76 471.71 526.64 560.00
Public spending domestically financed (B) 480.77 542.04 656.92 684.18 718.93
OBR contribution (A/B) 62.65% 66.92% 71.81% 76.97% 77.89%


OBR Contribution to Public Expenditure



Corporate Planning in the OBR

The 2013 East African Bribery Index scored OBR at 16.4 (a perfect score is zero) whereas in 2012 OBR scored 35.7. This is a 54% improvement in the bribery index that sends a strong positive message to the community, our partners and to potential investors.

All documents related to the OBR are also available on the OBR website here: www.obr.bi

Reforming Revenue Administration in Burundi

Tax is high on the agenda in Africa. At an international level, advocacy groups and the G8 have called for greater efforts to counter tax evasion and avoidance by multinational companies. But in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, a similar – and arguably even more pressing – campaign is being waged to improve the capacity of the state to collect domestic revenues.

In Burundi, the prospects for improving tax administration could not have been more inauspicious. By 2009, following the cessation of a civil war that claimed more than 200,000 lives, Burundi’s GDP per capita was the lowest in the world at US$150. Four-fifths of the population subsisted below the US$1 income per day poverty line. The Transparency International East African Bribery Index listed Burundi as the most corrupt country in the region. The country’s tax department was named as the most corrupt institution.

Despite the signally inhibitive outlook, the government implemented a number of measures to improve financial management. These included the creation of a new semi-autonomous revenue authority – the Office Burundais des Recettes (OBR). In 2012, tax revenues were 75% higher than in 2009 – a 25% increase in real terms. The contribution of tax to GDP had risen from 13.8% in 2009 to 16.7%.

Read more at: www.africaresearchinstitute.org

Pour lire le document en français, cliquez ici.



Thank you letter from Stephen O'Brien, the UK Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development recording his impressions of the OBR following his visit.

Thank you letter from Trademark East Africa