Bulgaria's Caretaker Economy Minister Seeks International Audit in Energy Sector

Energy | March 13, 2013, Wednesday // 16:39|  views

Asen Vasilev (L) took over the post from his successor Delyan Dobrev (R) at an official ceremony on Wednesday.Photo by BGNES

Asen Vasilev, appointed Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism in Bulgaria's caretaker government, has suggested that it is unrealistic to assume that the problems in the energy sector could be resolved during a term in office of only 60 days.

Vasilev took over the post from his successor Delyan Dobrev at an official ceremony on Wednesday.

He vowed to focus on priority tasks such as the finalization of ongoing audits, the completion of an international audit of the energy sector, the return to transparency and the promotion of an informed public debate on appropriate measures in the field.

Vasilev noted that he would announce the members of his team in the next few days, without specifying whether the current panel of Deputy Ministers would be kept.

He argued that there was no way to achieve economic development and an increase in Bulgarians' incomes solely through low prices.

Bulgaria's new Economy and Energy Minister suggested that the path to a strong economy did not require nationalization, monopolization, cartelization, or any return to the elements of a planned economy.

Vasilev emphasized that the state was supposed to encourage business rather than create obstructions.

He vowed to secure money from the state budget to pay debts to small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), adding that he was yet to find out the actual amount of overdue payments to SMEs.

Dobrev outlined the main tasks to be completed by his successor, including the completion of the tender for the oil and gas prospecting and exploration permit at Block 1-22 Teres in the Black Sea.

He informed that the bid submission deadline was May 9, 2013 and the contract was expected to be signed by end-May.

Dobrev also stressed the importance of signing the contract under the Kozloduy International Decommissioning Support Fund.

He further reminded that the implementation of energy efficiency measures was to start in May.

Bulgaria's former Economy and Energy Minister noted that the inspections of the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation (DKEVR) and the Public Financial Inspection Agency (PFIA) at the three power distributors functioning in the country were to be completed and the results to be discussed.

He also drew attention to the steps to be taken under the projects for the construction of gas grid interconnections with Serbia, Greece, and Romania, as well as for the implementation of the Nabucco gas pipeline.

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Tags: Delyan Dobrev, Economy and Energy Minister, GERB government, caretaker govenment, power distributors, State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation, DKEVR, Public Financial Inspection Agency, Kozloduy International Fund, oil and gas exploration


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