Bulgarian Parliament Votes on Totally Unworkable Public-Private Partnership Draft Bill
The draft bill on public-private partnership (PPP) in Bulgaria, which the government intended to adopt by end-2011, has ground to a halt after it emerged that its provisions were riddled with flaws and left loopholes.
The draft bill was met with widespread disapproval by the Parliamentary legal committee but nevertheless got passed ate first reading with the minimal majority of 2 votes.
Iskra Fidosova, MP of ruling center-right party GERB and Chair of the Parliamentary legal committee, warned explicitly that she would not back the draft bill in its current form at second reading.
The PPP draft bill paves the way for the assistance of private sector companies in the construction of hospitals, schools, kindergartens, prisons, railway stations and ports, in winter road maintenance and various other government services and activities.
The schemes will be implemented on the basis of contracts between the state or the municipality and the private sector company.
As regards sites that do not generate revenues, the state/municipality will also be able to provide financing for the implementation of the project, apart from granting the terrain.
Public-private relations are currently regulated by the Public Procurement Act (PPA) and the Concessions Act (CA).
In the course of the debates on the draft bill, MPs agreed that a law on public-private partnership was necessary but noted that it had to be soundly worded.
Lyuben Kornezov, MP from the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), explained that the current version of the draft bill was 19-pages long, it had 20 pages of transitional and final provisions, and its content entailed a U-turn in the regulations set out in the Concessions Act.
Fidosova echoed his opinion, adding that, if adopted in its current form, the draft bill on PPP would wreak havoc by openly contradicting a number of other laws.
She further noted that the PPP draft bill failed to mention what happened to the cancelled provisions of laws regulating state and municipal property.
The GERB MP also drew attention to the total overlap between the sites and activities subject to public-private collaboration, as listed in the PPP draft bill, and the ones enumerated in the Public Procurement Act.
Fidosova warned that this left room for abuse, creating an uncertainty whether the PPA or the PPPA were to be applied in the cases in question.
Socialist MP Kornezov insisted that a new law be prepared because the current version would not work, to which Fidosova responded that it was better to vote on the flawed version until a more competent person was available to start work on the bill from scratch.
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