Bulgaria to Amend Spatial Development Act to Cut Red Tape
After a set of changes to Bulgaria's Spatial Development Act on the functions of the Regional Development Ministry and the new Investment Planning Ministry entered into force last week, the law is to be amended again with a view to reducing the regulatory burden.
In a Monday interview for the Bulgarian National Television (BNR), Dimcho Mihalevski, MP of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and Chair of the parliamentary group in charge of regional policy, explained that the Spatial Development Act was to be divided into two separate acts, one regulating spatial development and the other one focusing on the investment process in construction.
He noted that the changes would facilitate investors who would no longer be required to prove to the state and municipal authorities that they had the right to carry out a certain type of activity related to their investment project on a certain territory, taking into account that this was a duty of the municipalities.
Mihalevski made clear that the changes would also seek to simplify and shorten the investment process and make it more predictable so that both Bulgarian and foreign investors would be aware of the time it would take them to implement the project.
The socialist MP said the amendments aimed at cutting red tape would be drafted on the basis of a map illustrating problems in legislation in the sphere and the difficulties they created for the business sector.
Mihalevski informed that the preparation of the map was already in progress, adding that the business sector, municipalities, and NGOs had prepared reports about the trouble spots in legislation.
He expressed hopes that the new set of amendments to the Spatial Development Act would stimulate investment in construction, stressing that the decrease in investments in the sector was not only due to the crisis but also to the lack of predictability as regards the timeframe and cost of implementation of projects.
At the same time, he assured that the legal changes would not facilitate illegal construction.
The socialist MP cited the lack of master plans of municipalities as another major problem, saying that 220 out of a total of 264 municipalities lacked such documents, as a result of which the investors had to prove the territorial compatibility of the projects.
He reminded that a total of BGN 1 M from the state budget had been earmarked for the preparation of master plans.
Mihalevski also reminded that Bulgaria was yet to coordinate with the European Commission the funding which would be allocated under the "Technical Assistance" Operational Program to the preparation of the necessary geographical systems.
He expressed hopes that the master plans of municipalities would be ready in 2-3 years' time, adding that the spatial development process would rely on EU funding in the next programming period too.
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