Only Top Class Investors to Be Allowed to Build New Ports in Bulgaria

Business | December 5, 2012, Wednesday // 17:01

Bulgaria's Parliament is to review amendments to the Maritime Space, Inland Waterways and Ports Act stipulating that only certified A class investors will be allowed to build new ports.

Dimitar Atanasov, MP of center-right ruling party GERB, and Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Transport, Information Technologies and Communications, commented that A class investors had provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate their serious intentions and there was no need to call a tender, thereby sidestepping potential appeals and obstructions to the development of the project.

Atanasov, as cited by Darik radio, admitted that he had no information about concrete investment plans to build ports.

The set of proposed amendments to the Maritime Space, Inland Waterways and Ports Act are aimed at simplifying procedures and shortening timelines for the review of investment initiatives for the construction of new ports or the expansion and upgrade of existing ones.

Atanasov, as cited by the Bulgarian Telegraph Agency (BTA), argued that the legal changes concerning A class investors would spur heated debate.

The GERB MP discussed the amendments with the experts who initiated them at a meeting in Varna on Wednesday.

Atanasov explained that if an owner wanted to expand the port, they would be able to do it without needing an A class investment certificate.

The main requirement for the issuance of an A class investment certificate is the amount of the investment.

Under provisions of Bulgaria's Investment Promotion Act, the minimum amount is BGN 20 M, the threshold being substantially lower (BGN 7 M) in municipalities with high unemployment.

Apart from the construction of new ports, the amendments also envisage a construction ban on beaches and protected territories.

The bill also authorizes construction on the seabed.

The legal amendments give a definition of "wharf" and list the methods for the maintenance of such facilities.

Bulgaria's Maritime Administration Executive Agency is to keep track of the condition of ports, the owners facing penalties in the case of poor maintenance.

In his Wednesday statement, Atanasov made clear that the talks with interested parties were yet to be held, adding that he would meet industry representatives in Varna and Burgas next week.

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Tags: port, GERB, center-right party, investment, Maritime Administration Executive Agency, Investment Promotion Act, bill, Varna, Burgas
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