Bulgaria earned 1.6 Billion Leva from Arms Exports since the beginning of 2023Industry | July 10, 2023, Monday // 07:35| views
Workers at VMZ Sopot
Over the last year, Bulgaria has earned 1.6 billion leva from the export of military products, Minister of Economy Bogdan Bogdanov announced to bTV.
"For the last year alone, we are talking about 2021 and 2022, exports have grown by more than 200%. So there is a great need for similar types of materials, ammunition and weapons on the market at the moment," explained Bogdanov.
Since the beginning of the war, 20,000 new workers have been hired in the arms industry, but the demand for personnel is significantly greater than the supply.
"At the moment, there are about 70,000 people directly involved. Over 200,000 people are indirectly involved in production accompanying the production of ammunition and various specialized equipment. Especially for the entire economy, we are talking about 2 percent, and this reflects - a significant growth that we have reported in the last year", added the minister.
According to a representative of the arms industry, the initiators of the trade are none other than the frontline countries themselves - Slovakia, Poland, Romania. These countries are in direct danger of Russia coming close to their borders if Ukraine does not stop Putin's invasion. They pay from their own budgets for the shells they order. The Czech Republic is also among the biggest consumers of Bulgarian weapons.
VMZ Sopot's turnover has grown by 830% since the beginning of 2023.
"Since last year, we have hired around 500 new workers, we are looking for more. We are currently around 1165 people and we are looking for more", says the director of VMZ Sopot Ivan Stoenchev.
According to the former head of the Sopot Military Academy, Ivan Getsov, Bulgaria is in one of the first places in the world in terms of weapons production per capita.
"We must say that this is an extremely important industry for Bulgaria. The fact is that we have a large production capacity. It is important to preserve and build this capacity and not to divide enterprises into private and state enterprises. This is Bulgarian industry. Bulgarian companies are competitive. But here the question is also how Bulgaria protects this industry. How do we make sure that the enterprises are efficient and that the people in them are safe. It is very important here against the background of the incidents that happened. We have to answer why they happened, there are competent authorities who must investigate," commented Economy Minister Bogdan Bogdanov.
The owner of private arms factories, Emilian Gebrev, has already expressed his suspicion that the frequent explosions in arms warehouses in our country are sabotage. And he admitted that they could be initiated by outside forces.
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