GOVERNMENT PLANS ITS LEGISLATIVE SCHEDULE
The Cabinet's legislative programme for the first seven months of 2003 includes 78 drafts. The schedule was approved at the Council of Ministers' last meeting for 2002.The Government will move for discussion by Parliament 38 entirely new bills, 22 documents for amendments in the currently effective laws, and 22 proposals for ratification of international contracts, closed by Bulgaria.At their first meetings after the New Year holidays the ministers will discuss amendments to the Tax Procedures Code and a draft for amendments to the Act on the Social Investment Fund. Amendments to the Tobacco and Tobacco Products Act are also included in the schedule for the first month of 2003.In the shortest month of the year - February - the ministers will probably move for ratification by the National Assembly the annual financial agreement with the European Commission for 2002 under the SAPARD programme. Bulgaria expects to get under it free grant of about EUR52MN for assisting reforms in agriculture. In February the Cabinet should also extend its approval of the agreement for liberalization of trade between Bulgaria and CEFTA's new member Croatia. And the Enegry Minister Milko Kovachev should propose amendments to the Energy and Energy Efficiency Act.The draft bill for amendments to the State Recivables Act will be discussed in March. During the same month the Council of Ministers is to make a proposal that the new state officials should be appointed only after holding a public contest.The draft bill for the establishment of warehouses for excise goods is to be discussed in April. The consecutive amendments to the Labour Code are to be made during that month, too. The schedule for May includes the draft bill for confiscation in favour of the State of property, acquired through criminal activities. The idea for such a law was launched by the Interior Minister Georgi Petkanov in the summer of 2002, but was met with ambiguity by politicians and mass media. Obviously, the Government has not given up its intention to adopt such a law.The programme for June includes additiional amendments to the Tax Procedures Code (after discussing once such in January). A little before the summer recess, the ministers will discuss in end-July 2003 the long-awaited amendments to the Public Procurement Act.In addition to drafting new laws, the Council of Ministers should plead in support of some of the bills, which have already been moved for discussion. The most important among them are the amendments and supplements to the Commercial Code, aimed at the facilitation of insolvency procedures.