VALENTIN TSEROVSKY ANNOUNCES PRIORITIES OF MRDPW
The new Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Valentin Tserovsky has announced the priorities of the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW) by the phrase: My aim is to improve the infrastructure of the republican road and highway network and water supply. Former minister Paskalev's successor is still exploring the ground. His first task, of course, is to find how far his predecessor has gone in implementing the pre-election programme of the National Movement Simeon II.Valentin Tserovsky describes himself as a quite outspoken person and promises to be frank in front of the media. He claims he prefers to act and the people will see what he has done by the end of his mandate.As a former member of the Parliamentary Budget Commission Mr. Tserovsky hopes he won't have problems, connected with the utilization of money from the EU's pre-accession funds.Regarding MRDPW's budget for 2003 (the big drama, due to which Mr. Paskalev resigned) Mr. Tserovsky said it was better than that for the previous year and could be restructured. Nevertheless, in his words, problems could be noticed on first reading. One of them is the synchronization between the MRDPW and the Finance Ministry. But the bigger problem is the way in which the MRDPW will be utilizing the funds, released under the PHARE, PHARE-Transborder Cooperation and ISPA programmes.In its first interview for the Bulgarian National Radio Mr. Tserovsky hinted that some of the projects under ISPA would be implemented on the principle of financial decentralization. I hope that by the end of the mandate the Govenment will set the legal basis for implementing decentralization in the work with municipalities.It is still not clear if the new minister will undertake castlings in the MRDPW. I'll make replacements after I get acquainted with the personal qualification of the staff, he explained. The MP from Plovdiv Nina Radeva will be probably Mr. Tserovsky's first vice minister. Valentin Tserovsky is already holding talks with experts from NGOs with rich experience in the utilization of financial resources from the EU's pre-accession funds. According to him, they will assist MRDPW's teams in utilizing the money under the PHARE and ISPA programmes. According to Mr. Tserovsky, concessions are a contemporary way for attracting investments and a good legal basis is necessary for that. The concessioning itself should protect the State's interest and ensure transparency of the procedures, as well as guarantees for the concessionaire's stability.Establishment of a special regulatiory body is projected, to control the price-formation of the water supply service, Mr. Tserovsky promised. A team of the MRDPW is preparing a draft on the national water supply regulator. The bill, which is being drafed with the World Bank's financial support, will regulate the water supply and sewage services for citizens, MRDPW's experts explained. After passing the new act, it will monitor closely the investments in the water sector, and will include control on the quality of the water supply services and price-formation. A special division in the future act will define the concessionaires' responsibilities and rights. The draft is expected to be moved for discussing in the Council of Ministers in March.Presently, Bulgaria is ready with 121 projects (worth a total of EUR405.2MN) under the PHARE and PHARE-Transborder Cooperation programmes for 2003, the Ministry of Economy claims. So far financial memoranda have been signed for nine projects under the ISPA programme, worth a total of EUR679.3MN. In November 2002 ISPA's Management Committee in Brussels approved another seven projects worth a total of EUR240MN for co-financing. The agreements for them are to be signed in the beginning of 2003.