The priorities of the nationally representative employers’ organizations include issues in four key areas:
- Provision of human resources for the economy;
- Improvements in business environment in Bulgaria for the increase of competitiveness of Bulgarian producers;
- Preparation of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union;
- Development of the capital market.
The priorities for 2017 of the Association of the Organizations of Bulgarian Employers (AOBE) were presented at a press conference on the 6th of February 2017 by the management of the four organizations.
In 2017 BICA will hold the rotating presidency of AOBE and will coordinate the activities of the Association.
The Chairman of the Governing Board of the BICA Vasil Velev emphasized on the main obstacle for an accelerated development Bulgarian economy is the lack of human resources – not only highly qualified, but with any qualification and in all economic sectors. “Vocational training should get the right to live again, because vocational secondary schools turned into rather language secondary schools.” Mr. Velev pointed out also that changes in migration policy are necessary.
According to the Executive President of the BIA Bojidar Danev drastic measures are needed for restricting the administrative interventions on the labor market, including for the determination of minimum wage, length-of-service pension and minimum thresholds for social security contributions, which are currently determined without the necessary methodology and impact assessment. “There should be a mechanism, based on the conventions of the International Labour Organization, as well as clarity on the amount of minimum wage for a certain labour productivity levels.” According to Mr. Danev radical changes are needed in the Labour Code, which was created in 1985 and does not apply to the current tendencies of digital economy. “If we want to be a part of the digital community, we should take a step towards general changes of the Labour Code.” He pointed out that a number of legislative acts, including European Directives are not observed. As an example he proposed the “domestic waste” tax, which is still set not by quantities, but by tax assessment of the property or the net book value of assets. BIA’s Executive President said, in connection with the business environment, that the administration has declared a war against small and medium business. For 2016 the budgetary revenue from taxes is 11,2% and a new growth of 7,6% is expected in 2017. In comparison, in Slovenia the revenue raised through taxes is only 0,2%, i.e. over 24 times less than in Bulgaria. “This is an economic evil. This means corruption, shadow economy, collapse of investments and loss of employment.” He added that the revenue from concessions is only 0,3% which is far less than tax revenue.
The President of the BCCI Tsvetan Simeonov said that “having an eGovernment is one of the main need of business, but unfortunately in the past years a lot is said, but not much is done.” According to Mr. Simeonov some small steps are taken, but they are not sufficient. Another important priority in the work of employers’ organizations will be the forthcoming Bulgaria Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2018. “The Presidency is a source of a lot of opportunities, therefore we should do what it takes, including through our participation in European organizations, to fulfill Bulgaria’s priorities.”
”Preserving the current tax model is crucial for maintaining the competitiveness of our undertakings”, said the Chairman of KRIB Kiril Domuschiev. He pointed out as a positive trend the lack of proposals for an increase of tax burden and “tax exotics” in the programs of political parties, excluding the Bulgarian Socialist Party’s proposal for double taxation of income over BGN 10 000. Another important priority for Bulgarian employers, which was presented by the Chairman of KRIB, is Bulgaria’s entry in ERM II.
During the press conference the employers’ organizations made it clear that they will work together with the next government and parliament for a new Energy Strategy, which guarantees predictability and long-term sustainable development of the energy sector.
In an answer to a journalist’s question the management of employers’ organizations said that they will not support any political party on the forthcoming parliamentary elections and will support policies, which are useful for the development of economy and society.
 AOBE’s member are the nationally representative employers’ organizations - Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA), Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA), Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) and Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria (KRIB). AOBE is directed towards interest’s consolidation of the representative employers’ organizations in Bulgaria at an international and national level in the International Labour Organization and the International Organisation of Employers.