NEW LAW ON STATISTICS TO BE DRAFTED
A panel of experts from the Ministry of Economy and the Agency for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (ASMEs) will draft a bill on statistics, ASMEs' Chairman Angel Despotov announced on July 8. According to him, the data of the National Statistics Institute (NSI) are usually made public with a three-month delay, and they lack precise information about the share of SMEs in the country's imports and exports or in the formation of the gross domestic product (GDP). This explains the necessary amendment to the curretly effective legal provisions. By the year-end the panel of experts is to define the reasons for the problems. Mr. Despotov hopes that the new law on statistics would be approved by 2005. The greatest success of the ASMEs over the last six months (since Mr. Despotov is its Chairman) is the choice of Promotion Bank as a partner of the European Investment Fund (EIF). The agreement for the allocation of a guarantee line of EUR7MN was signed by the two financial institutions on July 2, 2003. It will enable the state-run bank to extend investment credits at relieved conditions for pledges. The agreement between the EIF and Promotion Bank became possible after the signing in October 2002 of a Memorandum on understanding for Bulgaria's accession to the long-term programme of the EC for the development of enterprises and entrepreneurship. The ASMEs is Bulgaria's national coordinator for that programme.