THE REDUCTION OF STATE ADMINISTRATION IS NOT A SOLUTION
Dimitar Kalchev, Minister of State Administration, to the BANKER WeeklyMr. Kalchev, in his lecture to the Atlantic Club on January 27, the Premier admitted that corruption remained a problem in front of the Government...- The most recent international researches which have been published show that Bulgaria has moved two places backwards regarding that indicator. But this is not the most important fact. It's more important that the Anticorruption Commission works well, independently what is said about it. We have recently had an extended meeting with the participation of consultants, attracted by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). They were greatly impressed by our work. The results from all divestment deals (6,000 in all), checked by the Agency for Post-privatisation Control, effected by the Privatisation Agency and the Ministry of Economy alone, give grounds for serious thought. You know that 220 deals are already in the Prosector's Office and 10-15 have been been censured. The check has establsihed that the injuries to the State as a result of non-completed payments under privatisation contracts, non-fulfilled commitments for capital investments, unpaid taxes, and missed benefits, amount to BGN1BN. The contracts signed by all other ministries are yet to be checked and it's quite curious what the results would be. The Council fo Ministers approved on July 9, 2002 a strategy for modernization of the state adminsitration. However, no working programme for its realization has been prepared yet...- Not only a working plan for the stratgy's implementation will be drafted. There will be something very importatnt - a coucil for reform in the state administration. After consultations with the European Commission and the World Bank it was decided that the council would be headed by a vice premier. This will be Lidiya Shuleva. I'll be deputy chairman. A new person will be appointed to the Coucil of Ministers, especially for the reform in state administration. This will be the council's secretary. Within a week all ministries should nominated some of their deputies for members of the council. The members of that coucil for reform in the state administration are to be appointed at one of the Cabinet's first meetings in February and the working plan should be approved by March.The EC's report on Bulgaria's progress criticizes the Act on the State Official in its part concerning the transparency in appointing and discharging high-ranking state officials...- Frankly speaking, we are late regading the terms for passing the new Act on the State Official and a hint was made to us about that. During their last inspection the EC experts took the draft in the rough. It was agreed only with the various ministries, and was not even translated in English. We were late because the Anticorruption Commission proposed two or three very important recommendations for changes not only to that act, but to the State Administration Act as well. We are currently redrafting the texts and we want to agree them with the chief secretaries of the different ministries and governors. This means that we'll be ready by end-February to move them for discussion to the Council of Ministers.How many people work in the state administration and is their number sufficient for the the furture decentralized management of finances from the EU's pre-acession funds?- About 86,000 peiople are employed in teh state adminsitration and their number is entirely sufficient. There are probably some unnecessary structures, but this will be established by an analysis that we are presently making and which will be ready by mid-2003. The reduction of state administration is not a solution. I believe that some of its activities which are not so important to the state security, for example, could be concessioend to various private structures. I'm sure that the experience in some countries would make us follow their example.The road map for reforms in Bulgaria until the country's accession to the EU presupposes amendments to the Public Procurement Act and establishment of an agency for public procurement, subordinated to the Council of Ministers. At what stage is the fulfillment of these recommendations?- On the proposal of the Vice Premier Nikolai Vassilev and by order of the PM, a working panel was established a few days ago, which should prepare the draft of the new Public Procurement Act. In compliance with the requirement of the EC, an agency for public procurement will be probably set up. The working panel should draft the new bill by July 1 and move it to teh Government.