Bulgarian Business Outraged by Govt Corruption - Poll

Business | December 19, 2011, Monday // 19:31|  views

BIA CEO Bozhidar Danev (left) and BIA Board Chair Sasho Donchev (right). Photo from bianet.com

Only companies that are close to the government and the local authorities win public procurement tenders in Bulgaria, according to a survey of the Bulgarian Industrial Association, one of the six major business organizations in the country.

Corruption in tenders and EU funding applications increased from 66% to 75% year-on-year, i.e. affecting 75% of all tenders in 2011, according to the survey that polled 500 managers from various sectors of the Bulgarian economy between November 20 and December 7, the leadership of the Bulgarian Industrial Association announced Monday.

"Whoever is close to those in power wins the tenders," summarized the survey results Bozhidar Danev, CEO of BIA, stressing that firms sponsoring the ruling party GERB usually win the public procurement procedures.

BIA insists on a public register of sponsors, said in turn Sasho Donchev, Chair of the BIA Board, as cited by Mediapool.

He said that while political parties do provide data about their sponsors to the National Audit Office, the government ministries and most municipalities do not; he reminded the scandalous donations for Bulgaria's Interior Ministry, with Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov promising to publish a register with the private sponsors of the police as of September 1, 2011, but having failed to do so since.

The greatest violation are in construction and energy, Donchev declared, pointing out as an example the construction of a 36 MW power line by the private-owned southern Bulgarian power utility EVN for BGN 5.4 M only, when three years earlier the state-owned National Electric Company NEK built an identical facility for BGN 11 M.

According to the BIA survey, 63% of the polled managers have indicated that healthcare has a high level of corruption, 60% - the judiciary, 56% - the Interior Ministry and Traffic Police, 47% - licensing and permit regime authorities, 36% - public health and sanitary authorities, 35% - customs, 28% - tax administration, 24% - environmental authorities, 21% - labor inspections, 14% - education.

"The business sector is plagued with administrative arbitrariness with the constant introduction of new licensing regimes and permits. Instead of decreasing the amount of regulations is increasing dramatically," BIA Board head Donchev said.

"The administrative acts are destroying the providers of services to the benefit of a small circle of people. Legislation in Bulgaria is drafted in a horrible way, with many loopholes that are filled with subdelegated legislation that sets the stage for administrative arbitrariness," he added.

He further stressed that since the center-right government of the GERB party and PM Boyko Borisov came to power, a total of 170 laws and 1 600 administrative acts have been amended, and while the true benefit of these amendments "remains unknown", the constant changes are instilling insecurity and stress with the business sector.

BIA CEO Danev pointed out that the Bulgarian judiciary has the highest disapproval rate among the business respondents – 69%, followed by the Parliament with 67% and the executive with 56%; the tax administration, i.e. the National Revenue Agency (30%) and local authorities (28%) are doing better.

"Municipal administration is the only institution that sees growth in approval with businesspeople compared with the previous year. This shows that it is the only one that is starting to acquire a human face," Donchev said.

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Tags: poll, survey, BIA, Bulgarian Industrial Association, Bozhidar Danev, Sasho Donchev, corruption, business, managers, interior ministry, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, GERB, Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, public procurement procedure, public procurement, licensing regime, legislation, amendments, parliament, judiciary, judicial system, traffic police, donations, municipalities, local authorities, executive power, executive


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