18The Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) presented the fifth annual “Business to the rules” awards. The winners in the categories were selected by a special jury of over 100 prominent people by secret ballot. The awards were distributed at a ceremony in Sofia Hotel Balkan and guests were Prime Minister of Bulgaria Boyko Borisov, Deputy Prime Minister Valeri Simeonov, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, important government officials, Sofia Municipality, businesses, NGOs and social partners.

The National Council for Tripartite Cooperation took the prize in the category of “Normative act or administrative practice that leads to curbing the gray economy and improving the business environment”. The award was given to actively contribute to the drafting of the changes to the Labor Migration and Labor Mobility Act, which led to the facilitation of the legal hiring of third-country nationals and the communication of the positions of all stakeholders. Nominated in the category were the Ministry of Finance and the Energy Commission at the 44th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria.

The Association of Organizations of the Bulgarian Employers won the distinction of “Person or organization that contributed to the limitation and prevention of the informal economy through an active position”. AOBE, which managed to combine employers’ positions on a record number of issues, received a nomination for the overall activity of an organization in the past year in the field of curbing and preventing the informal economy. The Active Users Association, the Bulgarian Association of Private Schools and the Chief Councilor of the Vivacom Managing Board Dr. Janet Zaharieva were the other nominees for the prize in the category.

For her “Read the Label” column, Biljana Gavasova won the Journalist or Media Prize, who contributed to changing public attitudes towards intolerance to an informal economy. The bTV journalist struggled to compete with the economic department of Sega newspaper, Europe television and the reporters of “Lords of the Air” Boris Vaklinov, Vladi Vassilev and Dimitar Varbanov.

Nominations for the awards were made through a broad public consultation among members of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association, all social partners, members of the Public Council for Limiting and Prevention of the Informal Economy, composed of representatives of a number of state institutions and the media.

The competition aims to highlight and reward leading institutions and individuals with an active position and contribution to curbing gray practices. Thus, for another consecutive year, BICA promotes active action in the fight against the informal economy and promotes the constructive role of business in society in improving the socio-economic environment.

For the past year, the composite index “Business to the rules”, by which BICA measures the light bulk of the Bulgarian economy, has risen to a record 3.07 points to 74.78. The association reported a clear trend of accelerating the shrinking dynamics of the “gray” economy over the past three years, dropping to 25% in 2017.