Bulgaria among Top 10 in EU by Transparency in Public Procurement - Minister
Bulgaria is among the top 10 in the EU by transparency in public procurement and among the top 5 by electronization of the process, according to Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski.
In a Saturday interview for Bulgaria On Air, Lukarski announced that a team of the Economy Ministry under the authority of Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev was working on a new Public Procurement Act.
Bulgaria’s Economy Minister, as cited by investor.bg, assured that the new Public Procurement Act could be in place in the first half of the year.
Citing statistics of the Sofia-based office of the European Commission, Lukarski noted that Bulgaria was among the top 10 in the EU by transparency in public procurement and among the top 5 by electronization of the process.
Lukarski vowed that e-public procurement would be universally available in the EU by 2020.
He expressed satisfaction that the European Commission had backed the attempts of Bulgaria to boost the development of the country’s northwestern region, the poorest region in the EU.
Lukarski reminded that the EC had approved the application guidelines envisaging funding of up to 60% for medium-sized enterprises and up to 70% for small enterprises based in Bulgaria’s northwestern region, as well as the awarding of 5 extra points to projects from the area seeking EU funding.
He reminded that EC data indicated that Bulgaria’s northwestern region was the least developed in the EU because it lacked a strong regional center, which was why it was being given preferential treatment.
Lukarski said that Bulgaria’s southwestern region, which included Bulgaria’s capital, had been granted the smallest number of preferences.
He pointed out that the funding awarded to Sofia was included in the sum allocated to the area.
Bulgaria’s Economy Minister underscored that the application guidelines and criteria under operational program Innovations and Competitiveness 2014-2020 had been streamlined so as to ensure an objective and efficient evaluation process.
Lukarski stated that the operational program sought to give a boost to the launch and development of small and medium companies, adding that firms which had submitted a project under the program in the 2007-2013 period would be given a lower number of points, while entities which had participated with two or more projects would not be awarded any points.
“The idea is to allow a larger number of SMEs to access funding,” he declared, stressing that companies were supposed to use EU grants as an instrument for support for the initial stages of development of their businesses instead of relying solely on EU money.
Lukarski informed that the application process under the first axis of the operational program, “Improving Production Capacity of SMEs”, would be launched on April 20, adding that the funding allocated under that axis amounted to EUR 150 M.
He said that companies which failed to reach the goals set out in their projects would have to return 5-25% of the EU funding.
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