FIVE NEW PROJECTS OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE
Under a proposal of Deputy Premier and Minister of Transport and Telecommunications Nikolay Vassilev the Cabinet approved five infrastructural projects of national importance at its regular session on Thursday (July 15). Three of them are for repair and extension of existing facilities - the Plovdiv-Svilengrad railway, and the port of Bourgas and Lom. The other two facilities have not been constructed yet: the second bridge across the Danube at Vidin-Kalafat and the new runway and passenger terminal of the Sofia airport. The construction of the bridge is still in the stage of choosing a building contractor. July 14 was the deadline for filing preliminary offers. Documents were submitted by 15 firms from Bulgaria, from EU members and candidate-member countries. The tender will be held in two stages. Between four and eight companies will be shortlisted for the second stage and the winner will be chosen among them. At the session on Thursday the Cabinet decided that the transport and the finance ministers would sign an agreement, amending the contract for a loan between Bulgaria and the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development, extended for the construction of the new runway of the Sofia airport. It should be ratified by Parliament as well. As the BANKER weekly wrote back in the end of 2003, the chief executor of the project - the Arab JV between Mohammed Abdulmosim Al-Karafi and Sons and Admak General Contracting Company, insists on raising the price under the contract due to the weakening of the UD dollar against the BG lev and because of problems in strengthening part of the runway which passes over the Iskar river. The project is worth a total of USD53MN, of which USD42MN is allocated by the Kuwaiti fund. Back when the BANKER announced about the financial disagreements with the chief building contractor the Transport Ministry said that no additional raising of the project's price would be allowed.