Petr Dokladal: Cut Red-Tape will Lure Investors in Bulgaria
H.E Petr Dokladal answered questions of Milena Hristova - Editor of novinite.com and The News
Q: Recently the Czech government agreed to sell a majority in national phone firm Cesky Telecom to a consortium of Deutsche Bank and Denmark's TDC in the largest private equity deal ever seen in Eastern Europe. What was the strategy that helped accelerate the privatization process in the Czech Republic?
A: Starting in 1991-1992 with the privatization process, the Czech government decided to speed up the process of building of private sector in the country. The government took experience from several countries throughout the world and finally created the so called Czech way of privatization through the voucher privatization. After two rounds of this procedure the majority of state owned companies were privatized and during following years the shareholderґs structure was stabilised through the capital market. Beside this way of privatization there were also a group of direct sales either by management buy-outs or direct foreign investments. Nowadays, the privatization process is almost completed with expection of the state-owned Czech energy company which is planned to be sold in the nearest future. The successfull sale of Cesky Telecom was one of the most important steps of the privatization in Czechia.
Q: In which sectors should Bulgaria and the Czech Republic boost two-way trade?
A: From our side of view, we expect the positive development in industrial sales (energy sector, cars, tyres, electromaterials, machines and equipment), we also try to help our companies to find their way and increase the market share of Czech consumer goods in Bulgaria. Bulgarian producers still have to make their efforts to reach the level of export of foods (especially fruits and vegetables) from the end of 80. On the other hand, there are new commodities, which are successfully sold in the Czech republic (Vidima Sevlievoґs production, bakery etc.). Apart from the traditional trade relations we see the future in closer economic and production co-operation between Czech and Bulgarian companies, with our investments, know-how, machinery and qualified Bulgarian personnel and premises.
Q: How do you assess the Bulgarian government's efforts to attract more foreign investors? In what ways can the successful strategy of the Czech Republic be useful to Bulgaria?
A: Being among the biggest investors in Bulgaria, the Czech republic is very much interested in such efforts to help the investors in starting business in your country. We are working with the Agency for foreign investments and sharing the experience from our side. Establishing clear and transparent conditions, developing efficient and less bureaucratic system, preparing suitable zones for foreign investments as well as favourable tax conditions - these are main points on how to attract the investors in your country.
Q: Can Bulgarian energy use the experience the Czech Republic gained in settling the dispute over Temelin nuclear power plant?
A: Of course, there are some moments, which should be taken into account from the Bulgarian side. We are ready to share our experience with combination of the Russian „hardware" and US security system from Westinghouse, about dealing with the nuclear waste and so on, our companies are ready to take part in the nuclear energy sector of Bulgaria now and also in the future. I would like to mention that also due to dispute about Temelin the EU is working on common policy and standards in the field of nuclear safety.
Q: At the EU summit in December 2001 the Czech Republic was included on the list of 10 countries expected to join in January 2004. What do you think is the most realistic date for Bulgaria's EU entry?
A: Itґs very hard to predict the future development but Iґm confident that Bulgaria will be ready to enter the EU in 2006-2007 as it is planned. Your country is doing well and Iґm sure that the support from the EU will help you to move further even faster.
Q: Do you think Bulgaria has a functioning market economy?
A: The functioning market economy is rather vague terminology for me, we have to look closely to the economy itself to see how it is working, if there are suitable conditions (laws, financial system) for development and limited regulations, to compare it with developed countries from EU. As far as I see, the system is still in process of building and improving and economic subjects are learning how to work in it.
Q: Do you share the opinion that Bulgaria is now closer to NATO than ever before?
A: Yes, I do. Bulgaria is very close to be invited to NATO during the Prague summit especially thanks to its behaviour as a real ally of the Alliance. I would like to wish you a lot of similar successes in your foreign policy.
Q: How would you describe Bulgaria in three words?
A: Beautiful nature, excellent wine and mainly warm people, in three words - Bulgaria - nature&hospitality.
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