Minister Nikola Stojanov: Investments in Bulgaria dropped in the first half of the year, we are taking all measures to reverse the trend by the end of the year

Minister Nikola Stojanov: Investments in Bulgaria dropped in the first half of the year, we are taking all measures to reverse the trend by the end of the year

In the first half of 2022, investment in the country is declining, so one of our first tasks was to take all measures to reverse the trends. This is what the Minister of Economy and Industry Nikola Stojanov said in the morning news of BNT. In his words, working groups have already been launched with the business community and meetings have been held with our commercial attachés for a much more active and targeted presentation of business opportunities in Bulgaria.

“We are having specific conversations and we are changing the approach completely. We will not allow companies to leave our country because of bureaucratic hurdles,” Minister Nikolov stressed. He gave the example of a manufacturing company invested in Gabrovo, which is considering leaving our country because for six months it has been unable to obtain a licence from the state for its activities. “We are not talking here about documentary discrepancies, but about a lack of will on the part of the state to hold a meeting of a specialised council which grants these licences. This is an administrative arbitrariness that will not last a day within our mandate,” the economic minister was adamant.

Minister Stojanov also commented on the situation in the public companies in the system of the Ministry of Economy and Industry. “Every day new scandalous things come out. The latest one found in the State Consolidation Company (SCC) is that in the last days of the previous government, they contracted a law firm, which is paid 3 thousand BGN every month, regardless of whether the work is done or not,” said Minister Stojanov. He gave a chronology of the things that happened in the days between the change of the old and the new Minister of Economy and Industry:

  • On 1 July, SCC entered into a contract with a law firm for a BGN 3k per month subscription regardless of whether work was carried out with the only option of termination – payment of compensation for 3 months.
  • On July 7, the executive director of the SCC set her own severance pay at 6 salaries if she were to be dismissed.
  • On 5 August, Kintex transferred about BGN 800 thousand to an offshore company in Dubai.
  • On 8 August, without tender and bid, VMZ transferred BGN 3 million in advance to construction companies.

“Everything looks like a pre-prepared scheme that was activated as soon as the mandate of the previous minister formally ended, but we as the new leadership do not yet have the real picture of what is happening,” Minister Stojanov said. He said that the SCC is to commission an audit of its subsidiaries to see the full picture and the real situation.

“VMZ consults its actions with PR specialists, not with lawyers,” the minister commented on the actions of the factory in recent days. He explained that while awaiting answers to questions about huge sums paid without reasons by the previous managers, smoke is being blown to mislead public attention.

“It is extremely worrying that we are in a situation where all the decisions taken by the SCC in recent months have turned out to be null and void,” Minister Stojanov said. He explained that this happened after the decision of the previous Minister of Economy and Industry to reduce the board of the company to 4 people, which is against the law. “There is a long-standing case law of the Supreme Court of Cassation which states that in such a situation the decisions taken by the management are null and void. This will create a domino of cases in the subsidiaries of the SCC as well, which we have to deal with urgently,” Nikola Stojanov added and stressed that as long as he is a minister, all decisions and actions will be fully in line with the law.