Bulgarian PM Issues Ultimatum on Return of Officials' Bonuses

Domestic | February 29, 2012, Wednesday // 12:00|  views

Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, vows to fire all senior officials, who fail to return or donate their bonuses by the end of the workweek. Photo by BGNES

Ministers, their deputies, heads of political cabinets, regional governors and their deputies have a Friday deadline to return or donate all bonuses they have received.

The ultimatum was given by Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, before the regular Wednesday meeting of the Council of Ministers. He declared that those who fail to comply will be fired on the following Monday, and appealed to the former cabinet of the Three-Way Coalition to do the same, since they have gotten times more.

Earlier Wednesday, in an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR, the Deputy Chair of the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party, GERB, and Head of the Parliamentary Legal Committee, Iskra Fidosova, said that senior officials should not receive any bonuses, labeling the latter a bad practice.

According to Fidosova, senior State servants are using texts from 34 Acts in getting the extra money, and these texts will be amended to become effective since the start of 2012. She explained that nothing could be done for previous years.

The way State servants pay is formed will also change – they will have a constant wage and will get additional money based on performance and/or overtime work, up to 30% of the constant wage.

In recent days, the Head of the National Health Insurance Fund, NZOK, Neli Nesheva and the CEO of the Registry Agency, Violeta Nikolova, parted with their posts after it emerged that they have received huge bonuses in the amount of BGN thousands.

Nikolova told bTV Wednesday that she never got any bribes, was not corrupt and worked very hard.

According to her, there was nothing wrong in someone assessing their own work, as it was in her case, moreover because she received accolades from citizens and businesses for making their situation easier with a number of improvements.

Nikolova said that it was normal to have the highest bonuses in institutions that generate revenues, such as her former agency, the Customs, and the National Revenue Agency.

The ex CEO stressed that she could have legally awarded herself even larger sums – up to 25% of the agency's monthly revenues or BGN 15 000 a month, but never benefited from it. She accused media of wrongly reporting the amounts she has gotten, because they never subtracted the monthly deductions from her regular monthly wage of BGN 1 500.

Nikolova further said she had been blackmailed due to media reports about her money – someone called her on the phone and pretended to be Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, telling her she must donate BGN 11 000 on the PM's order so that these publications come to an end.

She voiced surprise her actions became subject to public scorn.

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Tags: Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister, Boris Velchev, Chief Prosecutor, Customs Agency, NRA, National Revenue Agency, registration, European Commission, bonus payment, Registry Agency, trade register, Violeta Nikolova, Neli Nesheva, NZOK, pay, State servants, Iskra Fidosova, bonuses, three-way coalition, bonuses, NAO, National Audit Office, GERB, donate, return


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