NARROW PAYMENT OF BULGARIAN STATE RAILWAY DEBTS
The Bulgarian State Railways (BSR) national carrier managed to make the October payments covering the credits received from EBRD, the French BNP-Paribas and the Austrian Creditanstalt. That became possible only after enormous efforts, strict financial discipline and vast delay of salary payments. Last month the company made several transfers to EBRD totalling US$2,915,625. BNP-Paribas received to its account another FRF3,639,856.32, and Creditanstalt - AUT3,020,671.88. Since the beginning of this year the railway company has effected payments to various foreign financial institutions. Together with the amount of US$8.6MN paid till the end of June 1999, all payments equal the amount of US$12.173MN
We managed to make on time all payments due for October to our foreign creditors and on Nov 3 we even received from EBRD headquarters a letter of appreciation for the timely transfer- announced to the Banker reporter Gergana Ivanova, BSR's Deputy General Director on the Financial Matters
Total repayment of all amounts due for 2000 would mean that in December the railway company has to transfer another US$4,583,383 to the World Bank, as well as FRF69,826.98 to BNP-Paribas. However, having in mind the current situation, the company management seems to be fully aware that these funds cannot be collected. Unless, of course, they decide to traditionally delay of salary payments, thus leaving the employees without any income for the Christmas holidays. Although the payment to BNP-Paribas does not cause much trouble, the payment to the World Bank will be a real hardship. Things would seem even gloomier if they start considering the forthcoming payments for 2001 - US$19MN and for 2002 - US$21MN
Concerning the accruing liabilities to the employees, railway trade unions have calcualted that they already exceed dozens of millions BGLevs. Since May the railway company has stopped the payment of meal allowances - BGL70 per month per person. The monthly liabilities of the company only on that issue amount to BGL2.66MN. Salary payments are also dramatically delayed. We are already unable to calculate what percentage of our salary we get for each month, complained a train supervisor. Some employees from privatized entities, belonging to Bulgarian State Railways also complained. Employees at the Russe railway plant still have not received a part of their last year salaries.