Mitreva Bids Farewell to Bulgarian Social Security Institute in Tears

Domestic | May 18, 2011, Wednesday // 19:13|  views

Mitreva makes an emotional farewell address amid bouts of applause. Photo by BGNES.

Hristina Mitreva, head of Bulgaria's Social Security Institute (NOI), delivered a melodramatic farewell speech in front of a crowded hall, full of NOI employees, representatives of employees associations and labor unions.

During her final press conference, Mitreva informed of pressure by the ruling center-right party GERB over appointing directors for the regional units of NOI of people lacking the necessary qualifications. In her words, there had been lists of candidates from the local structures of GERB in circulation.

She added that, despite the pressure, all candidates had participated in competitions with "fair and explicit" rules. As a result, only four of the suggested 17 GERB applicants had performed well and had been appointed. The appointments of these directors were the most popular hypothesis for Mitreva's resignation over the past few days.

Mitreva said that Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov and Labor Minister Totyu Mladenov had been keeping her in isolation for two months, which had made her stay impossible. She dismissed accusations that she was guilty for the miscalculated social security revenues, which was the official motive behind the call for her resignation.

Mitreva's statement was repeatedly interrupted by bouts of applause.

"NOI cannot be the sole institution to take the blame for revenues falling short of the target. I will not take this blame because the accusations are unfounded", Mitreva stated, adding that "the actuaries team of NOI is probably the best in the country".

She explained that the inflated revenue figures were the result of an "overly optimistic macro frame" of the budget, compiled by the Ministry of Finance.

In her words, a discussion would soon make it clear that the social security revenues had come short of the mark due to the overall economic and labor market situation, which would take its toll on the tax collection rates. What would also surface, according to Mitreva's forecast, would be that the social security revenue plan had been inflated, sending the Ministry of Finance on a false lead.

Despite the attacks against her by National Revenue Agency (NRA) head Krasimir Stefanov, the outgoing NOI director said that "the confidence in institutions" was of utmost importance, as well as the good coordination with the revenue administration, the ministries of health and labor, the National Health Insurance Fund and other administrations.

Mitreva said that during the brief Tuesday conversation between her and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Simeon Dyankov, he had tried to lay the blame at NOI's door, while Mitreva explained the problem with the macro economic frame.

Dyankov had made it clear that the government would continue to keep her in isolation, which would only harm NOI.

Mitreva insisted that the budgets of NOI and the National Health Insurance Fund should have been recalculated with the revision of the 2010 state budget.

With tears in her eyes, Mitreva repeatedly thanked her colleagues from the institute, emphasizing her trust in them. She expressed her firm belief that the institution would keep working to its full capacity.

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Tags: Hristina Mitreva, NOI, Social Insurance Institute, National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF), Simeon Dyankov, GERB, social security, Budget 2010, NRA, Krasimir Stefanov, Ministry of Finance

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