Category Archives: Events

BICA MAIN PRIORITIES FOR 2020 ARE: IMPROVING THE BUSINESS CLIMATE, ENERGY REFORM AND IMMEDIATELY SOLVING THE PROBLEM WITH HUMAN RESOURCES

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Improving the business climate, comprehensive energy reform and accelerated human resource management are the three major priorities of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) for 2020. They were formally presented today at a meeting with the ninety branch employers’ organizations, members of BICA and representatives of the executive branch.

To improve the business climate, the employer focuses on accelerating the introduction of eGovernment, limiting state intervention in the economy and reducing regulatory burdens. BICA will continue to lead its 20-year battle with the gray economy, monopolization, cartelization and corruption.

An amendment to the Energy Act to introduce complete market liberalization and the adoption of a balanced energy strategy are two of the proposals for comprehensive sector reform. Other measures include ending state aid to US power plants, conducting a capacity auction, increasing the efficiency of state-owned companies, including through listing them on the BSE, and making the Bulgarian electricity market more connected to the European one.21

In order to address human resources problems more quickly, the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association proposes to support education reforms, with a major focus on vocational and higher education and on facilitating the labor immigration regime of third-country workers. BICA believes that by reforming the budget-financed systems, additional human resources can be freed up and immediately attracted to the workforce of Bulgarian enterprises. The employer organization also wants to resolve the problematic issues in the social security system and to develop and adopt amendments to the Labor Code in line with the new realities of the labor market.

“We can say that in 2019 BICA has strengthened its role as an established spokesperson for our business in Bulgaria. We have succeeded in initiating numerous positions and campaigns in defense of the Bulgarian companies, which have led to the improvement of specific elements of the business environment. Among the successes we can undoubtedly report is the adoption of our methodology for determining admission plans in vocational high schools, the principled general agreement of the social partners to replace the administrative fixing of the minimum wage by negotiation, the progress on the elimination of minimum social security incomes, introduction of the ‘polluter pays’ principle in calculating the amount of the fee in the Local Taxes and Fees Act, launching the preparation of an SME Strategy, etc. “, said the Chairman of the Governing Board of BICA Vassil Velev.

The other participants were: Zhelyaz Enev, Director of the Economic Policy Directorate at the Ministry of Economy; Kremena Kalcheva, Chief Executive Officer, DG Employment Services; Liliana Georgieva, Director of the International Labor Migration and Mediation Directorate at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Science and Education, IA “General Labor Inspectorate”, IA “Operational Program” Science and Education for Intelligent Growth “, Operational Program” Innovation and Competitiveness “, etc.

 

BICA supports the working process on strategy for digitalization of Sofia

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Support and partnership in the work on the implementation of the digital transformation strategy of Sofia were announced at a meeting with Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association, held today in the Sofia Municipality on the proposal of the association. Digitization is at the heart of improving services and quality of life. It is a strategic tool for the city’s economy and enables more services to be developed for both citizens and businesses, said Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova.

The meeting was attended by the Deputy Mayor of Sofia for Finance and Health Doncho Barbalov, the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Municipal Investment Agency and the Municipal Councilor Nikolay Stoynev and the Deputy Mayor for Digitalization, Innovation and Economic Development Vladimir Danailov.

Mayor Fandakova stated that, as she had committed herself, a digitalization, innovation and economic development department was created in the Sofia Municipality with Deputy Mayor Vladimir Danailov.

“We are working on a few priority steps: first, the most used non-digital services are being digitized, the system is being upgraded and the number of digital services needed by citizens and businesses is increasing. An important step is for the municipality’s administration not to require citizens and business to issue a document, which it itself issues, but to make an internal check, “said Mayor Fandakova. She recalled the development of digital business services through the Architecture and Urban Planning website.

The department offers electronic services such as “Issuance of a Certificate of Structural Status Certificate” and is about to launch 3 more new electronic services: “Electronic application for a building permit”; “Electronic Application for Placement Authorization”; “Electronic application and visa under Art. 140, para. 2 of the SPA. “

In 2015, the Sofia Municipality developed and implemented 45 e-services, and the municipality is the first to launch the data opening process.

“The new line of digitization in the urban environment is working on several important tasks: to ensure a holistic approach, not a piece-by-piece operation and inconsistent independent decisions; turn the city into a platform for innovation; to reduce the administrative burden and make Sofia a market for digital products and services, “said Vladimir Danailov. According to him, the Digitalization Strategy is not a template we are imposing on Sofia, it was made as a result of a survey of the public and business in the capital, with over 100 experts, organizations and IT companies in Sofia. “We first defined where we are as digital maturity and then we set our goals in the digital realm,” said the deputy mayor. Sofia’s digital transformation strategy for the city is part of the European Commission’s Digital Cities Challenge project.

After the adoption of the strategy by the Sofia City Council, it will move to a specific program and the business may participate in working groups with specific proposals. Mayor Fandakova familiarized the Industrial Capital Association with opportunities for cooperation in projects in the area of ​​socially responsible business.

Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association said they were ready to join Mayor Fandakova’s new program for afforestation of block spaces in the neighborhoods. So far, the municipality, together with citizens, the non-governmental sector and the business, is actively working on the project “The New Forest of Sofia”, on which 88,000 saplings are planted, and together with schools and kindergartens – “My Green School” and “My Green Kindergarten”.

Other partnership opportunities discussed were participation in the construction of playgrounds and playgrounds and public-private parking projects in the neighborhoods.

There is almost no unemployment in Sofia, but the lack of trained staff is a common business challenge. One of the opportunities for training is the participation of business in vocational guidance programs, said Mayor Fandakova. Sofia Municipality is working on projects for dual education and vocational guidance, where metropolitan schools and businesses partner.

“The metropolitan municipality is not an ordinary municipality; a large part of the Bulgarian economy is concentrated here, in the high-tech sectors. Nevertheless, Sofia has to tackle several major challenges in the short term, such as improving and increasing e-services, demographic problems and labor shortages. As an employer organization, it is important for us to prepare an assessment of the labor force’s needs in the capital economy, as well as to outline measures for attracting and integrating highly qualified third-country workers. You can count on the expertise of BICA, stating our full readiness to participate in the development, with proposals and in joint working groups, as well as in the implementation of projects important for the Municipality and the business, “said the Chairman of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association Vassil Velev.

Boyan Boichev, a member of BICA Government Board, Dr. Milena Angelova, Secretary General of BICA and Dobrin Ivanov , executive director of the Association attended the meeting.

DEPUTY MINISTER LAZAR LAZAROV LEADS THE PUBLIC COUNCIL ON LIMITATION AND PREVENTION OF INFORMAL ECONOMY AND UNDECLARED EMPLOYMENT

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Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Lazar Lazarov was elected as chairman of the Public Council for Restriction and Prevention of the Informal Economy and Undeclared Employment, which held its meeting on December 5, 2019. The Council was established on the idea of Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) in partnership with the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB) in 2009.

The main objective of the Public Council is to provide synergies between the social partners, the various state institutions and the media for limiting and preventing undeclared employment and the informal economy, as well as to make recommendations for improving the implementation of project activities as needed under Project BG05M9OP001-1.051-0001 “Improving access to employment and job quality by limiting and preventing undeclared employment”. It meets at least once every six months and generates ideas for implementing actions to curb and prevent undeclared employment.

At its meeting, the Public Council adopted updated rules for its work, as well as a methodology for conducting national surveys to analyze forms and evaluate the size of undeclared employment at national level and its manifestations in the sectors most affected. The data collected and the analyzes made will serve to produce a National map of undeclared employment.

“Fighting the gray economy is a major priority for us, and I cannot fail to note that our country has achieved remarkable success in the last 10 years. According to our measurements, it has decreased by almost 15 percentage points compared to 2010 – from 35.4% to 20.9%. However, undeclared employment remains the most widespread and sustainable gray practice in Bulgaria that we still cannot let’s get over it. The highest percentage of taxes – 53% – is “saved” from the concealment of the income that individuals receive from employment contracts. I believe that by working on this project we will be able to identify measures to curb this undeclared employment that is hurting all Bulgarians, ”said Vasil Velev, Chairman of the BICA Board, who opened the meeting. President-elect Lazar Lazarov supported the work of the council and said: “I assure you that as President of the Council, I will make every effort to bring about a reduction in the rate of undeclared employment. It is a long process that requires a change in the thinking of all participants in it – employers, employees and workers and the state. Thank you for your trust. “

Fighting undeclared employment and the informal economy are not just BICA priorities, so representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance, the National Social Security Institute, the National Statistical Institute, the General Labor Inspectorate, the Employment Agency, the National Revenue Agency participate in the Public Council , State Committee on Commodity Exchanges and Markets, representatives of various committees of the National Assembly, CITUB.

Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy Lazar Lazarov was elected chairman of the Public Council for Restriction and Prevention of the Informal Economy and Undeclared Employment, which held its meeting on December 5, 2019. The Council was established on the idea of ​​the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) in partnership with the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bulgaria (CITUB) in 2009.

The main objective of the Public Council is to provide synergies between the social partners, the various state institutions and the media for limiting and preventing undeclared employment and the informal economy, as well as to make recommendations for improving the implementation of project activities as needed under Project BG05M9OP001-1.051-0001 “Improving access to employment and job quality by limiting and preventing undeclared employment”. It meets at least once every six months and generates ideas for implementing actions to curb and prevent undeclared employment.

At its meeting, the Public Council adopted updated rules for its work, as well as a methodology for conducting national surveys to analyze forms and evaluate the size of undeclared employment at national level and its manifestations in the sectors most affected. The data collected and the analyzes made will serve to produce a National map of undeclared employment.

“Fighting the gray economy is a major priority for us, and I cannot fail to note that our country has achieved remarkable success in the last 10 years. According to our measurements, it has decreased by almost 15 percentage points compared to 2010 – from 35.4% to 20.9%. However, undeclared employment remains the most widespread and sustainable gray practice in Bulgaria that we still cannot let’s get over it. The highest percentage of taxes – 53% – is “saved” from the concealment of the income that individuals receive from employment contracts. I believe that by working on this project we will be able to identify measures to curb this undeclared employment that is hurting all Bulgarians, ”said Vasil Velev, Chairman of the BICA, who opened the meeting. President-elect Lazar Lazarov supported the work of the council and said that “I assure you that as President of the Council, I will make every effort to bring about a reduction in the rate of undeclared employment. It is a long process that requires a change in the thinking of all participants in it – employers, employees and workers and the state. Thank you for your trust. “

Fighting undeclared employment and the informal economy are not just BICA priorities, so representatives of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Finance, the National Social Security Institute, the National Statistical Institute, the General Labor Inspectorate, the Employment Agency, the National Revenue Agency participate in the Public Council , State Committee on Commodity Exchanges and Markets, representatives of various committees of the National Assembly, CITUB, Confederation of Labor, Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, BCCI, CRIBE, BNR, Economist magazine, Darik Radio, Monitor and more.

The project “Improving Access to Employment and Job Quality by Restricting and Preventing Undeclared Employment” is being implemented by BICA and CITUB partners in the period 2019 – 2022, its goals being to develop specific tools for preventing and limiting undeclared employment , to develop a sub-index to calculate it and to train and consult 4,000 individuals and 300 businesses on how to apply these tools, with the project also focusing on new forms of employment.

VASSIL VELEV PARTICIPATED IN THE EXTRAORDINARY ASSEMBLY OF INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF INDUSTRIALISTS AND ENTREPRENEURS

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he Chairman of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) Vasil Velev attended the extraordinary meeting and the Assembly of International Congress of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (ICIE) on December 3 and 4. The event, held in Moscow, was attended by more than 120 delegates, business representatives from 21 countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Asia.

The participants were presented the status and prospects of relations between the business community of the Russian Federation and partners – members of the International Congress of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. Possibilities for cooperation between the ICIE and business organizations and associations from countries in the Far East and Asia Pacific were discussed, as well as revision of the Statute in order to improve its activities and its further functioning. At the meeting, the organization welcomed a number of new members, business associations from the Asia-Pacific region.

During the Assembly, the President of the Bulgarian Employers’ Organization presented the business expectations for the development of our economy. According to him for 2019, the economy is expected to grow at around 3.5%, unemployment to fall below 4% and income growth to jump by over 10%. According to the EC’s autumn forecast, the Bulgarian economy will maintain a relatively high rate of development and in the next 2 years – about 3%. This ranks Bulgaria 5th out of 28 EU countries, after Malta, Romania, Ireland and Poland, whose economies are expected to grow by 4.2 – 3.2% with an expected growth of 1.4% across the EU. Vassil Velev stressed that our economy is growing twice as fast as the EU average, but in order to bring the standard of living of Western European countries closer to the foreseeable future, we must grow at least 3-4 times faster.

“Our cooperation with the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs is developing mainly within the ICEEU network, and we would like to expand it, as well as our bilateral relations with Russia, not only in relation to major energy projects, but also at medium level. and why not small businesses, ”said Vassil Velev.

According to data presented by him, Russian investments in Bulgaria by 2018 are over 2 billion euros, but of them – for the last 5 years they are only 345 million euros. In 2012-2013 Russia challenged the first place in trade with Germany, and at the end of this year. is sixth after Germany, Romania, Italy, Turkey and Greece. We also report a decline in the tourist flow. In 2013 Bulgaria was visited by 696 thousand Russian tourists from over 9 million foreign tourists. At the end of 2018, they were down to 522,000 by over 12 million foreign tourists. The situation in the real estate sector is similar. If in 2011-2013 Russian citizens bought in the order of 10-13 thousand apartments in Bulgaria, today they are more like net sellers. According to Vassil Velev, the sanctions that Russia and the EU have exchanged have contributed to the insufficiently strong economic relations between the countries. He stressed that in a formal opinion the BICA had announced their complete abolition and development of natural economic links between the economies of the European Union and the Russian Federation.

The BICA Chairman also expressed positive expectations of the Bulgarian business in case of implementation of two major energy projects – Gas Hub Balkan and Belene NPP. He was adamant that it was important for our country to have secure gas supplies at competitive prices. “We believe this will be achieved through healthy competition from Russian, Azeri, Tatar, American and other companies. Concerning the construction of Belene NPP, the business in Bulgaria is adamant that the project should be implemented on a market basis – without guaranteed preferential prices and long-term contracts for obligatory purchase, without state guarantees for payment of the investment, ”added Vassil Velev.


About the ICIE

International Congress of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs is a non-governmental non-governmental organization established in 1992. Currently, it is a member of national unions of industrialists and entrepreneurs from 28 European and Asian countries, and more than 100 international companies and organizations from different industries are partners in Congress. The main purpose of Congress is to develop scientific, industrial, investment programs and projects that contribute to strengthening the economic and industrial potential of the regions in which its members operate.

THE FORUM “PULL OUT SUCCESS FROM ANONYMITY” DISCUSSES WIDER PUBLICITY ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF BULGARIAN ENTERPRISES AND ENTREPRENEURS

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  • 74% believe that negative news is prevalent in the electronic media.
  • 63% of the respondents want to learn about Bulgarian entrepreneurs!
  • 39% of Bulgarians are of the opinion that it is possible to do successful business in our country, while 34% do not agree with it.

When asked what direction the Bulgarian economy was developing, 31% of the respondents said that it was developing in the positive and 49% in the negative.

Half of those surveyed were not informed about the country’s exports and cited the oil rose and dairy products as one of the most traded products, forgetting entirely about the electrical and mechanical engineering industries, which form the bulk of Bulgarian exports.

52% are of the opinion that Bulgarian exports as production are of high quality, while only 12% are of the opposite opinion. 36% do not know or cannot judge, which in turn indicates poor awareness.

This is shown by a national representative survey of the Trend Research Center presented today (18.11.2019) by Dimitar Ganev within the forum “Extracting the Success from Anonymity”, organized by the German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) and the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA). The forum is part of the campaign “Succeeding in Bulgaria!”, Which aims at achieving greater publicity for the successes of Bulgarian enterprises and entrepreneurs.

The discussion was attended by the chairmen of GBITK, BICA, BIA, CEM and the Bulgarian Public Relations Society, Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Culture and Media Toma Bykov, responsible representatives of the Union of Bulgarian National Electronic Media, the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum , The Bulgarian Donor Forum, the Institute for Market Economics, sociologists, economic analysts, companies, NGOs and the media. The forum was moderated by Lydia Shouleva, Chief Coordinator of the Let’s Succeed in Bulgaria initiative and Chair of the Specialized Committee on Economic Development at the GIBC.

“The Bulgarian economy has emerged since the 19th century,” said Chief Economist of the Institute for Market Economy Lachezar Bogdanov. According to him, Bulgaria’s exports in the period 2008 – 2018 have undergone significant changes. In 10 years, the export growth of electrical equipment has increased more than three times, the trade in machinery – twice, and the export of the automobile industry – with a record six times. By comparison, in 2001 the main exports were clothing, knitwear and metals.

We offer excerpts from participants’ statements:

Mitko Vassilev, CEO of GBITK: The initiative “Succeed in Bulgaria!” Was provoked by the media’s failure to mention company names and to treat any company or brand name as a hidden advertisement. The problem that arises from this is multidimensional – the public is not provided with complete information and, on the other hand, a negative image of the country is being built, and the existing opportunities for realization in Bulgarian enterprises remain unnoticed. It is important to talk about the success of the companies, not only because of their contribution to the economy, but also because they serve as a positive example for future investors in Bulgaria. “One sees as much as one knows,” Goethe said.

Vassil Velev, Chairman of BICA: “Nothing is produced in Bulgaria. There is no industry in Bulgaria. ”This is what we most often read on social networks and listen on the streets. In fact, few Bulgarians know that Bulgaria is far above the European average in terms of industry share in gross value added. Few people know that the first items in Bulgarian exports are mechanical engineering and automotive and electrical and electronics – all sectors with high and medium value added. How many Bulgarians know companies that are Bulgarian and are the basis for national confidence and pride, which are in the TOP 10 in the world in their sector? Why is the negative in Bulgaria prevalent – is it more appealing to people? Why are success and good practices anonymous and problems named? Is there a problem with the law or is it censorship? And what kind of image of the country do we want to create? In general, is monogamy in Bulgaria a special religion? Is success an inspiring example, or is it cause for envy? If we listen to the news, it turns out that everyone is a mascara. These are questions that need to be answered.

Radosvet Radev, Chairman of the BIA: My general assessment is that this conversation is meaningful and slightly delayed in time. We have assurances from the Parliamentary Committee on Culture and the Media that the media law is being reconstructed and some regulations can be improved. As a media entrepreneur, I have tasted of both honey and tar of media law. In our media life, we have been sanctioned and unauthorized for mentioning good business practices, by brand names and companies. All major media outlets have a difficult task of reaching plans, covering audiences, etc., and they are related to the sale of advertising. There is a saying “If I announce that Company X has made people’s lives better, I will drop my marketing budget next month, so no mention!” However, I am convinced that there is no connection between the two – mentioning good examples will not reduce advertising revenue. Self-censorship is very important. All this long-standing chatter in regulatory practices has created high levels of self-censorship – not only in the media, in journalists, but also in television and radio broadcasters themselves. We have produced in media professionals the fear of saying the obvious. The implication of today’s forum is “Returning Freedom to Journalists!”

Lydia Shuleva, GBITK: I would like all of us who have gathered here today to unite, partner and seek success together and to exclude it from anonymity. Our goal is not to look guilty, but to look ahead, to unite and to realize that if we want to keep young people in Bulgaria, it is of great value to show success by name. Let’s see what is stopping us and what would help us to achieve this goal. We have no illusions that things will change from tomorrow, but if we do not speak clearly, frankly, with examples, we will not find the right way to change our moods. It is a difficult and long process.

Iravan Hira, Vice President of BBLF: BBLF was created more than 20 years ago at the initiative of Prince Charles on his visit to Bulgaria. At that time, about ten companies, mostly foreign investors, were members of BBLF. Today over 150 companies are members, over 80% of them are Bulgarian. They all seek to invest the best in society’s well-being. There is almost no Bulgarian company that is not involved in one way or another with corporate social responsibility. Over 80% of Bulgarian business is committed to helping society, but if you look at the media, you will see that 75-80% of society has a negative attitude towards business. A positive development is that in recent years 90% of CSR projects have been initiated by employees. In companies that are socially active, they have a high level of employee involvement, a low level of leaving, higher business results. The public is not aware of such stories because there are restrictions on mentioning the company. It is imperative that all companies that do good are anonymized. This is a discussion we owe. I am sure that if we talk more often about what good things are happening in our country, we will stimulate the business to engage, to help the society, to exchange good practices.

Krasimira Velichkova, Director of Bulgarian Donors’ Forum: Over BGN 37 million was donated by companies in Bulgaria in 2018. Just over 30% of Bulgarians think that business invests in social causes because they do not know what to do with their money. This shows a poll we did this year. Obviously, there is a lack of clarity in the media about the implementation of the Law on Radio and Television, because the law leaves many possibilities for interpretation, scares journalists and editors. Together with a group of non-governmental organizations, we prepared a specific text for changes in the LTA. We will hand the text to Mr Bykov. The idea is not to force the media to do something that is not in the public interest, but to legislate for clarity so that the public interest can be served. Because, as we have seen, people want to learn more about good examples. The regulator can also help by being part of this cause. Together, let’s campaign for journalists and editors to bring clarity so that journalists themselves do not self-censor. The media can also be helpful by being honest and, when they think a news is worth communicating to the public, present it with names. The media should inform the audience in good quality. Businesses are also obliged to society because they invest and do good things, but few companies provide adequate and complete information about their social investments. Businesses need to talk more, talk about their reasons for investing in society. Civic organizations can also do a great deal by telling what change they have made with a resource received from companies.

Kiril Valchev, Secretary General of SBNEM: There is indeed self-censorship, incl. in the interlocutors. As a presenter of The Week, I encourage them to tell themselves the businesses. On Saturday, I was visited by a representative of the Bulgarian-Swiss Chamber, who told how some children were staying at the Sens Hotel, but the translator translated “one hotel”. translators already have censorship. There is no dispute that there is no legislative problem. There are SEM methodical guidelines that clearly define what information is and what advertising is. The bigger problem is that we have a hopelessly outdated piece of legislation. Having a Radio and Television Act in 2020 in the presence of internet, social networks is inadequate. We can’t make an internet law. We have no law of the press. So, my first appeal is to repeal this Act (ZTT) and to regulate sensitive content (for children, harm, etc.) in other special laws – the Health Act, the Child Protection Act, the gambling, etc. Respectively – the control should be taken over by the respective regulatory authorities and closed by the CEM. It’s important to regulate content labeling as paid. The media themselves have been repeatedly accused of pursuing a policy focused on advertising, so they refuse to mention brands and businesses outside the so-called. paid reports. It should also be stressed that businesses often refuse to show because money loved silence. So it’s not very easy to get a businessman to visit you on the show. I call for the active involvement of the business itself in the media. Remove the ad regulations because it is already running on channels you cannot regulate, or Bulgaria should become North Korea. There should be a law on radio and television, but it should be a law on the BNT and the BNR, which should give a wonderful example of how everything that is spoken here is publicly pursued as a policy.

Lubomir Alamanov, Founder and Managing Director of SiteMedia: We are consultants, we help with strategic communications. The difference between advertising and PR is huge – we have nothing in common. PR is a managerial function, it is a function of transmitting information, it is not advertising, it is not product positioning, it is not marketing communications. Lack of communication often leads to the great crises we see every day. For example, thanks to Lidl, many Bulgarian manufacturers have changed their exports times to Western Europe. So economic information is important. It has nothing to do with advertising. In the past, there was an economic Plus Plus show, which provided an economic basis for the knowledge of the general public. At the moment, such a thing is almost impossible to happen because there are no examples. People’s financial education is lagging behind because they don’t have good examples. I agree that sometimes as communicators we overdo it. We teach students not to overdo it with adjectives (unique goods, unique services, unique…). We have a case where our press release was covered in 68 countries, and in our country only 2-3 media paid attention to it. What is a brand, what is a name? Mr Bykov’s name is also a brand. Tomorrow, if it makes a fashion line, is it already a politician’s name, is it a brand name, can it be mentioned? Is he a crazy name or is he a brand? Should every company have a representative in Parliament to mention her name? Mention of company names is a powerful weapon against fake news. Because they can more clearly identify who the speakers are, what they are saying, what is true, what is not. Providing information is not advertising. Advertising budgets will not stop.

Elena Valcheva, manager of PR agency Yanev & Yanev: Attempting to bring a confrontation between media and business is harmful. Recent studies have shown that as much as social networks have a strong influence on people, it is 20% and television’s impact is 70%. Televisions form images in people’s heads. How many of you have seen a working man on TV except in the reality show Farm? When TVs went into an enterprise to film the people who work there. If this image is regularly displayed, it is in the minds of the younger generations and they are striving for it. And we lost that image. It is the lost image of prosperity, of a prosperous person, of one who achieves something through his work. Then we wonder why we are the most unhappy nation. One is happy to create something. The conversation is very important and very serious measures must be taken very quickly, so the most influential media should help the Bulgarian nation to believe that things are going better here.

Rosita Elenova, President of CEM: I am positive that CEM does not have divergent practices on the topic we are discussing today. There is no sanctioned media to properly mention a brand for information purposes. We are united in a common mission when there is positive news that the media does not bother to show it. However, there is serious self-censorship. The guests themselves are censoring themselves. This is where the most accurate organizations and personalities are gathered. I am very involved with SEM and myself with this topic. If Coca Cola has opened a factory, it must be said that Coca Cola has opened a factory. This CEM staff tolerates the creation of an economic broadcast on public television. There is a lack of economic broadcasts, this is a huge deficiency in the media environment.

Iliana Zaharieva, Chairman of BDVO and Director of Communications of A1: Forgive me for being skeptical, but personally I have been involved in this process for at least five years. We may be the right people here at this table, but where are bTV and Nova TV? Everything that has been said so far is true. Yes, there are methodological guidelines for SEM. Yes, there is no regulatory problem. But there is a real problem. For example, we are talking about the involvement of A1’s CEO, but they couldn’t say who he was, they couldn’t mention the company. What do you know about 5G, have you ever been told something on TV how 5G will change your life, how remote medicine will be, how telecoms work on it? No, they show you any Golds, but they don’t tell you about 5G. Self-censorship is scary – it is on the part of journalists, presenters and guests. Only a huge campaign can help educate these people – journalists, presenters, guests, editors, TV owners. I am disgusted with this environment.

Toma Bykov, Deputy Chairman of the Committee on Culture and Media at the 44th National Assembly: Our task is not easy, because obviously we have to deal with a number of myths. The biggest myth is that the law is guilty. The law does not prevent anyone from reporting facts. When we open to changes in the law, I am sure that this amendment will not be dramatic and we will adopt it by consensus. I hope with your help to write in the law as clearly as possible what a media can and cannot do. The bigger problem is that it will be difficult to deal with other myths, for example – the myth of who is successful and who is unsuccessful businessman. As a matter of fact, in Bulgaria the image of a businessman is person in suit, a Mercedes and a folk friend, not someone who produces modern technology. Televisions are full of this type of business, and I don’t see any hiding there from hidden advertising. There is a hidden advertisement – for example, in many programs there are nutritionists, massage therapists, astrologers, fitness instructors … Do you know how this type of service increases the consumption? Private media are also business organizations and are looking for profit, but we need to set a common standard for what a successful business is – that it means making efforts, not getting rich quick. The media should start reflecting facts rather than launching half-criminals by presenting them as business representatives. And these people are giving people what is good and what’s bad. This is a public function of the media – to show the good and the bad, to set the standards. The law alone will not fix things. The law on radio and television is important and covers a wide range of topics, but it is a totally outdated, inadequate law – the media is seen as a post-socialist enterprise. That is why the public media are following this pattern and are about to go bankrupt. So there is a need for this law, but it needs to be seriously revised. It is the political will to support such changes. The media should not be penalized for reporting facts. I call on the media, whatever the law, to report the facts. Because it is hypocritical to claim that we are fighting false news, provided we devise common constructs to circumvent reporting of certain facts.

Ognyan Trayanov, owner of TechnoLogica: When it says who the guest is and what his position is, it shows the viewer / listener what his competence is on the topic, but also his interests, etc. this is a means of filtering out hidden advertising. A responsible business, when it comes to CSR, does not need a PR. It is a shame for us to say that we do CSR as an indulgence. When any media pushes us to pay for CSR coverage, we cannot take it for granted. We are doing something that is useful to society, and we cannot afford to pay it to come out that we are doing it all for a PR. This is unacceptable. It is clear that these excuses with CEM sanctions when it comes to some positive action, activity, example, that is business violence to pay for advertising. The public media is not to compensate for the lack of other media, but to focus some necessary activities that are not beneficial to the private media.

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REPORT TO THE CPC ON VIOLATIONS OF FREE ELECTRICITY MARKET

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S I G N A L

FROM

Vasil Velev – Chairman of BULGARIAN INDUSTRIAL CAPITAL ASSOCIATION

Radosvet Radev-President of  BULGARIAN INDUSTRIAL ASSOCIATION – UNION OF THE BULGARIAN BUSINESS 

Tsvetan Simeonov – President of  BULGARIAN COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 

Cyril Domuschiev – President of the  Confederation of Employers and industrialists  IN BULGARIA 

RE: VIOLATIONS IN ART. 15, 21 AND 22 OF THE LAW ON PROTECTION OF COMPETITION

Ladies and Gentlemen MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSION FOR THE PROTECTION OF COMPETITION, 

This signal approach the Commission for Protection of Competition to investigate the actions of a group of participants in the free electricity market, which we consider his behavior impermissibly violate the principles of freedom of contract and competition enshrined in the Bulgarian legislation.

Our factual statements are based on analysis of publicly available information.

The specific facts and circumstances are as follows:

A significant part of the electricity produced by privately owned facilities in the country, is under direct or indirect control of entities that are related parties within the meaning of §1 of the additional provisions of the Commerce Act. Addresses the following companies:

EİK Electric power, MW
HEATING – BURGAS EAD 102011085  18
DHC Pernik AD 113012360 105
HEATING – PLEVEN EAD 114005624 68.18
HEATING RUSE EAD 117005106 400
HEATING – BT PLC 104003977 2.81
HEATING Vratsa EAD 106006256 6.24
HEATING Sliven EAD 119004654 12.71
HEATING Gabrovo Ltd. 107009273 12
BRIKEL 123526494 200
TPP – Bobov Dol EAD 109513731 630
Maritsa 3 AD 126526421 908

Total installed power of 2362, 94 MW

The electricity produced by the above companies, is sold on the open market electricity company trader “Grand Energy Distribution” associated with the entities – manufacturers. We should highlight the fact that the trader “Grand Energy Distribution” under the agreement represents “Heat Sofia” Ltd. in the sale of electricity produced from cogeneration company with a capacity of 186 MW.

The presence of connectivity between the owners of production facilities and subject – trader on the open market is a concentration which objectively creates conditions for market manipulation.

There are conditions to artificially create electricity shortages by restricting their production and simultaneously buying by traders linked the entire offer of state-owned companies – producers of electricity on the exchange.

Separately, under the control of the owners of production facilities is an insurance company.

The insurance company issuing insurance policies as a form of guarantee security when buying electricity mainly to group vendors associated with the manufacturer, which directly creates competitive advantage. This circumstance suggests that it is possible and purchased power would not be paid and strengthens non-market advantage.

From those circumstances it can be reasonably assumed an unacceptable concentration under the Law on Protection of Competition.

On the other hand – the market behavior of the above players on the electricity market creates doubts about the existence of a cartel in the following areas:

“Grand Energy Distribution,” European Trade off Energy “,” Saga Commodities “,” TM Technology “,” Energy Invest Europe “- all related entities – owners of production facilities, participated in a tender sessions of the Bulgarian independent energy market during the period from November 2018 to January 2019 under which dealt offered by NPP “Kozloduy” amounts of electricity at the rate of about 500 MW.

Each of these traders bought on the basis of a bilateral agreement electricity from the proposed NPP “Kozloduy” and formally in each of the contracts is complied with in the tender documentation for the purchase of quantities of up to 10 MWh, respectively 20 MWh from a buyer.

Practically all the electricity offered during those trading sessions, was purchased by the companies.

Shows a clear trend is an essential part of the electricity sold on the free market to be purchased by listed companies while eliminating other traders.

Our data indicate that subsequently purchased electricity is traded between the above vendors based on bilateral agreements. Redistributed among these merchants amounts of electricity sold to their clients – private entities and public entities under conditions and prices that surround stock market mechanism.

On 19/06/2019, the NEC organized a tender for the sale of 98MVt for the period 01.07-30.09.2019, the foretold that favors only one possible buyer potentially al available hourly amount between 0MVt and 490MVt. Following the intervention of employers’ organizations that infamous auction was canceled, meanwhile NEC organize two tenders for the same day, again with conditions doubtful favoring one potential participant, but also those tenders were canceled. Ultimately NEC held a desired auction on 01.07.2019 and realized electricity potential al available hourly amount between 0MVt and 250MVt, which amount to 80% is bought from two related companies mentioned above. Therefore the trend toward concentration deepened with the active assistance of NEC. We insist to check this auction.

The registration system allows BNEB to check the link between the offered items (quantity and price) on the “day ahead” of the aforementioned related companies and those of the NEC for the period 12.1.2018 14.7.2019 on-on – we have grounds to assume coordination and resulting from the steady high hourly rates.

Deserves attention and study coordinated behavior between those dealers and major exporters of electricity by GEN-I, Danske Commodities, Alpiq over the same period, the 12/01/2018, 07/14/2019, the identifiable as through bilateral agreements between them and by quoted positions (quantity and price) segment “Day ahead”. In this regard should be given to the data for cross system of ESO closed internal transactions between these entities (without physical cross-border transfer) and hourly rates achieved for the period segment “Day Ahead”.

Those facts give clear indications of manipulation of the free market in electricity and the implementation of certain entities of non-market business practices.

A direct consequence of the actions of economically related entities is limiting the ability of other traders on the open electricity market to purchase electricity under clear and competitive conditions.

The described pattern of the above companies disrupt the functioning of the liberalized electricity market. Thus creating conditions for a permanent electricity shortages and distorted price formation. This process directly and negatively affects the functioning of the whole Bulgarian economy.

The severity and scale of the problem motivated us to take any legal action to prevent a deepening of this trend and unlawful practices stopped.

Ladies and gentlemen members of the Commission for Protection of Competition

Please initiated proceedings under the Law on Protection of Competition and ordered a review of the above facts and circumstances, with a view to establishing whether there is a legal hypothesis unacceptable concentration and / or cartel among those listed in the complaint subjects – participants in the free market of electricity.

We express our readiness, if necessary, to provide additional information available.

DECLARATION BY BULGARIAN INDUSTRIAL CAPITAL ASSOCIATION RELATING TO A BREAK IN THE SECURITY OF NATIONAL REVENUE AGENCY DATA

Teenage Hacker Girl Attacks Corporate Servers in Dark, Typing on Red Lit Laptop Keyboard. Room is Dark

Trust in statehood is fundamental to every society, and democratic is key. The breakthrough in the personal data system is a breakthrough in this confidence, and any attempt to sweep away what happened has ruined the Bulgarian state. Therefore, BICA insists on a full investigation of the case by independent external experts and assuming appropriate responsibility.

In the age of ubiquitous digitalization, such an event can only be described as a disaster. The facts speak for themselves – leaked NRA databases show a drastic breakthrough in the protection of individuals’ rights in the processing of their personal data, a failure to fulfill obligations for our country arising from Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data and repealing Directive 95/46 / EC (General Data Protection Regulation) (OJ L 119/1 of 4 May 2016), including compromised data n millions of Bulgarian citizens contained in contracts, information on remuneration, income, credits, IPs, declarations, names, PINs, addresses, data of Bulgarian companies with their UIC and addresses, emails, car registration numbers, certificate numbers for electronic signatures; the full NRA organization chart with hashed passwords and complete NRA employees’ positions; data of Bulgarians living abroad who receive pensions outside Bulgaria and have refused health insurance in Bulgaria.

We are particularly concerned about the facts reported that the theft of the data took place 20 days before its discovery, and the NRA did not at all report and register the illegal extraction of the data from their servers, and it was only after the publication of some of the information that the theft was detected. All of this speaks to a low level of data protection and security, to the incompetence or negligence of those responsible, which jeopardizes national security and the functioning of the state.

Against the backdrop of what has happened, even more outrageous and inexplicable is the desire of the NRA through Regulation 18, which is useless for the fiscal but at the risk of companies, to “peek” on-line in their technological and commercial secrets.

BICA calls on the executive to immediately draw up and implement an action plan to mitigate the incident and manage the resulting risks, and to publicly announce who is responsible for this unprecedented catastrophe and what penalties will be imposed.

BICA is deeply concerned about the many alarming failures of the state’s digital policy, namely the problems with the commercial register, the switch to electronic vignettes, and more. Such failures are extremely disturbing, unacceptable and shameful for a country that claims to be a regional leader in information technology.

BICA stresses that such catastrophes will continue in the future if there is no immediate change in the way the state works with the electronic data of Bulgarian citizens and Bulgarian business. The creation, maintenance and management of e-services is a continuous process, with security being at the forefront of designing systems. State institutions, as well as external experts and security companies should audit and try to break through the infrastructure, and the State Agency for Electronic Governance should impose minimum security criteria for the design and implementation of e-services by state institutions. In this regard, in order to prevent such events, BICA insists on an immediate audit of IT security in all government institutions when implementing eGovernment, which should have long been the case.

RECORD GROWTH OF BRIGHT BUSINESS IN BULGARIA

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The Business to the Rules composite index, through which Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) measures the bright part of the Bulgarian economy, rose 4.55 points and reached a record high of 79.10 points. The data was announced today at a press conference at which BICA announced the index for the ninth consecutive year.

BICA calculates the Light Economy Composite Index from 2010. By 2013, it grew steadily, with the only drop of 1.2 points in 2014. Since 2015, its upward trend has continued:
The increase in value for the past year reflects not only objective positive phenomena and processes in the economy, which are reported by the statistical sub-index, but also a positive change in the assessments of business and employees for the dynamics and share of the informal economy, which is accounted for by the sociological sub-index (though to a lesser extent).

Analysis of the Composite Index shows an increase in the value of both sub-indices. The statistical index registered a growth of 4.4% and the sociological one – 0.15%. This means that real successes have not yet been evaluated by employers and employees and that a more serious information campaign is needed.

The main reasons for the positive trends are the financial and economic stability in the country, the new measures taken to improve the business environment and curb the informal economy, increase the volume of exports of Bulgaria, the general decrease in the intensity of the main stress factors that create negative psychological moods. business, as well as the lack of migration pressure across our country’s borders.

BICA reports that in 2018 the reasons for holding back the positive trends in the change in the Index of Light Economy are the lack of manpower, which is a major problem of Bulgarian business, the new sharp administrative increase in the minimum wage, which in turn has led to an increase in “gray” practices in some sectors. The external factors that have contributed to the rise in the index are Turkey’s deepening economic crisis, ongoing EU sanctions on Russia and relevant counter-sanctions, as well as emerging trade conflicts between the US and China, the US and the EU and the US and its partners, NAFTA.

BICA Announces Nominations for “Business to the Rules” Awards

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Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) has announced the nominations for the Sixth “Business to the rules” Awards. This year’s ceremony will take place on July 1st. The prizes of the most representative employer organization in Bulgaria are awarded in three categories – “For legislation or administrative practice that lead to limiting the informal economy and improving the business environment”, “For a person or organization that contributed to curbing and preventing the informal economy through an active position “and” For a journalist or media contributing to changing public attitudes towards intolerance to the informal economy. “

In the category “For a regulatory act or administrative practice that results in limiting the informal economy and improving the business environment”, the following are distinguished:

  • National Revenue Agency – for conducting two successful campaigns – a control campaign against large cash companies that limits gray practices and for Pay in Envelope, which effectively reduces the risk of unfair competition by hiding part of their salaries;
  • Ministry of Tourism – for the creation of a Unified System for Tourist Information (ETI), by which it guarantees a higher collection of revenues from taxes and fees related to tourism;
  • The Committee on Legal Affairs of the 44th National Assembly – on the amendments to the Criminal Code voted to criminalize the distribution and holding of excise goods without a parcel;
  • Member of the Parliament Hristian Mitev – for the tabled amendment to Art. 37, para. 2 of the Accounting Act, which reduced the administrative and financial burdens on small businesses.

“For a person or organization that contributed to the restriction and prevention of the informal economy through an active position” are nominated:

  • Director of the Risk Management Directorate at the National Revenue Agency Nikolay Petkov – for his overall work on the introduction of a model for risk management from non-compliance with tax and social security legislation;
  • Director of the Copyright and Related Rights Directorate at the Ministry of Culture, Mehti Melikov – for a successful policy in covering the gray sector in the market for television broadcasting;
  • Institute for Market Economics – for an active position regarding overcoming imbalances in the country’s economy and preventing gray economic practices;
  • EA “General Labor Inspectorate” – for efforts to update the system for online submission, registration and reporting of templates of contracts of employment for short-term seasonal agricultural work in a timely manner.

In the third category, “For Journalist or Media Contributing to Changing Public Attitudes to Intolerance to the Informal Economy,” the distinction will be competing:

  • Nova TV journalist Georgi Georgiev;
  • Deutsche Welle’s Bulgarian edition;
  • The presenters of Bloomberg TV Bulgaria’s Business Start program are Zhivka Popanasova and Hristo Nikolov;
  • BTV reporter Nelly Todorova.

The purpose of the annual competition is to highlight examples of success in the fight against the informal economy and to distinguish leading institutions and individuals with an active position and contribution to curbing the informal economy. The awards are part of BICA’s overall work to increase public intolerance of the informal economy, encourage active action in this direction, and promote the constructive role of business in society to improve the socio-economic environment.

The nominations for the awards were made through a broad public consultation among the members of the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria, all social partners, members of the Public Council for Restriction and Prevention of the Informal Economy, comprising representatives of a number of state institutions, and the media. The winners will be cast by secret ballot from a large expert jury consisting of 100 distinguished personalities: prominent economists, public figures, media representatives, members of the BICA’s National and Control Council, the Public Council for the Restriction and Prevention of the Informal Economy, etc.

LETTER TO THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF NEK

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TO
MR PETAR ILIEV
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF
NEK

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MRS TEMENUZHKA PETKOVA
MINISTER OF ENERGY

Dear Mr. Iliev,

Last week was announced a tender for the sale of electricity from NEK EAD platform for bilateral contracts BNEB organized on June 19, 2019 The term of delivery, and declared by the seller deviations give grounds to suppose that this is the power generated from renewable energy sources with a power of between 1 and 4 MW.
Welcoming the decision that electricity can be sold on the free market, we disagree with the way you plan it.
AOBE of opinion is that such a large amount of (potentially over 390 MW) at the specified lead of 98 MW and opportunities to secure future payments by insurance, will rise further speculation as it will be purchased by a single buyer. In the current difficulties in the generation of electricity from coal and expensive emission allowances if and further create conditions for concentration, respectively controlled limited supply, the market will experience chronic power shortages and prices would be easily manipulated.
However, precisely to avoid such risks, the National Assembly passed legislative amendments backing the realization of electricity generated from renewable power between 1 and 4 MW of the free market. Reasons for its decision, the legislature clearly declares that the whole market determine prices and more liquidity in the energy market. Despite initial intentions release of the free market to start with the beginning of the new pricing period, unfortunately, it was delayed by one quarter. Therefore, by the end of September 2019 namely NEK will dispose of this electricity.
Given the foregoing, logically, rationally and market adequately NEK to sell electricity generated from renewable power between 1 and 4 MW, fully exchange segment “Market day ahead.” Recall that this is the segment and recognized by the EC and the Bulgarian legislation to determine the reference market price for past periods. In addition, if NEK adequately structured package short-term products – as a weekly peak around 5MVt products (following, for example, the profile of small photovoltaic) products with different (+) deviations, etc., small volumes (cumulatively to 15 20%) can be placed and the platform for bilateral agreement. This will avoid the possibilities of market manipulation, of what we were repeatedly witnesses.

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