SOCIAL MINISTER HRISTOVA WANTS MORE EMPLOYEES AND MONEY
The employees on pay-roll at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy will increase by 91 in 2005. Nevertheless, according to Ms. Hristova, the personnel is not sufficient for the trouble-free operation of the ministry she heads. The number of people working in our administration and not in the various agencies which are under our umbrella, has not increased since 2001 and has remained 191, she explained. Ms. Hristova predicted as well problems with the payments to the staff due to the insufficient money, earmarked for the purpose. The actual situation, however, is a bit different. The number of employees in the social sphere has increased by 9,174 since 2001 and the money, earmarked for the ministry rose by BGN875.869MN. It is true that the newly hired officials were not employed in the ministry's central administration, but in its subordinate agencies. It is also true that in 2001 they were only seven, and now they are thirteen. The first big recruitment of staff was in 2002 when the Employment Agency was set up and 3,400 people began work in it. The Agency for Social Assistance was established in 2003 and the army of employees in the social sector rose by another 5,562. Another 30 were employed in the new Institute for Conciliation and Arbitration, 10 - in the Fund for Labour Conditions, and 80 - in the Chief Labour Inspectorate. In 2004 the number of the Social Ministry's administration was cut down by 190 due to the start of the reform and reorganization of its structure. In 2005, however, that loss will be partly compensated by 108 new officials, teaching mayors' teams to draft projects and apply for money from the European Union. The Chief Labour Inspectorate itself will open 20 working positions for people who will be controlling the observation of labour legislation. Eleven experts will find occupation in the Agency for Disabled people. The 2005 draft budget does not show any financial deficiency for the Social Ministry. It will get from the Treasury BGN44.76MN for salaries and another BGN16.821MN for insurance. The money for these two items alone will increase by 11% from 2004 and it is obvious the amount will be sufficient to ensure remuneration to the 108 new employees. The average salary in the Social Ministry will be around BGN367 and there are no indications for whatever financial difficulties. Ms. Hristova complains also about the budget, earmarked for capital expense of the ministry. The money for repairs and purchase of equipment has been cut down indeed. In 2004 the ministry had BGN25.432MN at its disposal for such purposes, and it will get BGN260,400 less next year. This, however, won't impede the necessary repairs of social homes, which are financed by the ministry. Ms. Hristova intends to use alternative ways to raise money. One of the options is to apply for money from the Beautiful Bulgaria programme, and another - to seek financing from the Social Investment Fund.