The Association of the Organizations of Bulgarian Employers (AOBE) presented its priorities for the current year at a press conference held today, 22 January 2019. The press conference was attended by Vasil Velev - President of BICA, Radosvet Radev - President of BIA, Tsvetan Simeonov - President of BCCI, and Evgenii Ivanov - Executive Director of KRIB.

AOBE’s priorities for 2019 are divided into three main groups related to business climate improvement measures, an accelerated solution to human resource problems and the need for a comprehensive energy reform.

Tsvetan Simeonov, President of BCCI and AOBE’s rotating chairman for 2019, said that Bulgaria could not prosper without the e-government becoming real. “One of the defects of the economic and political environment is the lack of e-government that creates preconditions for business harassment and corruption. Although there is a gradual passage of the paper-to-electronic registers, the pace is slow, and any delay slows down the country's development, as well as the impact on foreign investment,” he said. Simeonov also noted the need for measures in the area of cybersecurity as there is no public system or register that does not collapse or have no gaps.

Vasil Velev, President of BICA, emphasized upon the measures for the promotion of the Bulgarian economy - firstly, regulation of equal conditions for trade with Bulgarian products and, secondly, creation of a National Fund for Advertising of Bulgaria - not only in the field of tourism, but also for advertising of Bulgarian products such as wine, food, furniture, cosmetics, pharmacy. He also referred to labor legislation: “Our Labor Code is at the level of Industry 2, and now we are at Industry 4.0, we have a number of proposals to change the Labor Code, one of which is to have transparency and comparability in labor and employment service relations.”

Radosvet Radev, President of BIA, drew attention to the digitization of the industry and the need for the administration to encourage the processes in the Bulgarian economy in different ways. “Bulgaria is competing for investments with its neighbors and, unfortunately, we are losing competitive positions because of the heavy regulations and inadequate administrative procedures. Any advertising we make to our country will have no effect without reducing the burden on the companies,“ he added. He also pointed to the problems of the enterprises in the procedures for connection to the electricity network and other communication structures and gave an example with Estonia, where the access to the electricity network takes place for 91 days and 262 days in Bulgaria (according to World Bank data). “Bulgarian employers were injured by BGN 876 million, due to the alleged temporary anti-crisis measure, which has been operating for 10 years now, namely the employer to pay the first three days for temporary incapacity for work. We will insist that this be changed," Radosvet Radev added.

Evgenii Ivanov, Executive Director of KRIB, said that the gray economy continues to be a punishment for all economic operators, and the current control is not sufficient. He also drew attention to the work of some environmental organizations that literally racketeer and stop investment projects. “We want criteria for environmental associations the same way as there are criteria for us as employers’ organizations”, Evgenii Ivanov added. He also drew attention to the need for faster progress on Bulgaria’s accession to ERM II, Schengen and the OECD.

As before, employers' organizations united in the AOBE will inform parliamentary groups, the Prime Minister and the President of the Republic of Bulgaria about their priorities and a work program for 2019.

Date: 22.01.2019

Source: Association of Bulgarian employers' organizations

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