The Automobile Industry in Bulgaria Needs Large Industrial Zones and 45 000 Workers

Business | July 15, 2018, Sunday // 15:13| Views: | Comments: 0
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Bulgaria: The Automobile Industry in Bulgaria Needs Large Industrial Zones and 45 000 Workers

The automotive industry is going to need large industrial zones and another 45,000 workers in the next three, four years because of the expected growth in component manufacturing. This was announced by Lyubomir Stanislavov, Executive Director of "Automotive Cluster Bulgaria" at the discussion "Yes! On the Bulgarian Automotive Industry".

The organization has initiated the creation of three new industrial zones around Bourgas, Sofia and Vidin where there are vocational high schools with the possibility of dual training, Stanislavov said. In his words, the best examples of dual education are in the automotive industry, where there are the most students.

The automotive industry also needs a partnership with the government. Large first-tier automotive suppliers and manufacturers coming to Bulgaria will need significant incentives, sometimes those that go beyond traditional measures, Stanislavov said to the representatives of the executive power participating in the forum. According to him, the companies are interested in our country and the potential is a matter of management.

The automotive industry is developing at the fastest pace in Bulgaria, ahead of the pace of development of the IT sector, tourism and metallurgy and the measures taken in its support, Stanislavov said. Six years ago, when the cluster was set up, the sector created less than 1 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), under 9,000 employees were employed, and companies were under 30. Now the automotive industry accounts for over 5 per cent of GDP, over 47,000 people work in the sector, and the companies are already over 170. The turnover generated by them is over 2.5 billion levs, Stanislavov said.

"By the share of industry in gross value added, Bulgaria is ahead of the average European level by 5 percentage points. Bulgaria is an industrialized country.The backbone of this industry is the mechatronics - machine building, electrical engineering and electronics, employing more than 143,000 people, export sector is the number one with BGN 13 billion or 24% of all Bulgaria's exports in 2017. If we have to identify a sector that fills the budget of the Bulgarian state and the households in Bulgaria, this is undoubtedly the mechatronics. And the biggest asset is the automotive industry. " This was stated by the chairman of the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria, Vasil Velev.

On his part, Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Simeonov promised that the government will provide full support and assistance to the Bulgarian companies in the branch.

The lack of staff can be supported by the state through training for employees under the Investment Act, Deputy Economy Minister Lachezar Borisov said. He noted that so far, investors have used the financial incentive to ease employee benefits.

Soon, financial resources will be provided for the creation of the industrial zone in Stara Zagora. Large-area projects around Sofia and Bourgas are also being worked on, as well as attracting a high-end investor - a car maker in Bulgaria, said the Deputy Minister of Economy.

Since 2005, 21 projects with 13,000 jobs have been certified, totaling nearly BGN 1 billion, but the development of this industry has been the most dynamic in recent years, Borisov said.

Since the beginning of 2016, there have been 11 projects with over 8,200 jobs worth nearly 300 million leva. These projects are in the process of being implemented and some of the companies have not yet recruited employees. This means that in the coming years there will be a demand for personnel, added the Deputy Minister of Economy.

According to May data, at 2015, there is a 37% rise in the industrial production index and a 45% growth in turnover in the sector, Borisov said. Exports of the sector are 4% of total exports and they account for 4-5% of the value added in the industry.

Deputy Minister of Education Tanya Mihaylova reported that 10 263 young people from 9 to 12 grade are trained in the specialties related to road transport. If they all work on the profession, the problem with the staff would be solved, she added. She reminded that lists of protected professions and professions for which shortage of staff is expected to be ready.

There are 55 majors from 12 professional fields with an expected shortage, Mihailova added. The list includes 27 protected professional fields with 29 specialties, among which are those related to the automotive industry.

The proposals for changes in the Vocational Education Act regarding the dual training are ready, Mihailova said.

The Chairperson of the Parliamentary Education Commission Milena Damianova informed that the proposals for amendments to the Higher Education Act are already being worked out to ensure the participation of the business in the educational process. This will also be useful for the automotive industry, she said. The plans are for the changes in the Higher Education Act to be adopted by the end of September.

Proposals for amendments to the Vocational Education Act are expected to be submitted to parliament next week and the draft will go through the first reading by the end of the month, said Damyanova.

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