Bulgaria Launches Large-Scale Buildings Sanitation Programme
The spectacular and at the same time - extremely controversial government programme for the rehabilitation of the old concrete blocks of flats in the country begins. On Wednesday (28 January) at its regular meeting the Council of Ministers adopted the National Programme for Energy Efficiency of Residential Buildings. What was approved is also the conditions for granting financial assistance as well as the bodies responsible for its implementation. A day later the presentation in the country was launched, and the first showcase was not accidentally in Burgas. Then the "road show" continues with Stara Zagora, Haskovo, Sliven, Yambol, Varna, Pleven and Gabrovo.
The programme will actually start on 1 February with the amount of 1 billion levs provided through government guarantees by the Bulgarian Development Bank. Participants who may apply include multifamily buildings, industrially built (pre-fabricated) housing, lift slab construction, large shuttering, sliding formwork, etc.) in all 265 municipalities of the country. The only condition is for them to have at least 36 separate sites with residential use. And from 2016 buildings in which there are fewer than 36 apartments will be able to get included.
"We will finance the replacement of windows and pipes, insulation of walls and roof and other energy efficiency measures. We will not give money for new elevators. Each building approved for financing will have to carry out energy audit and assess whether the already changed by owners windows meet the requirements for energy efficiency and how much of the improvements already made have to be kept and adapted to the new appearance of the buildings.
A unificated decision will be taken for the glazed balconies," said Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Lilyana Pavlova.
For the implementation of this project homeowner associations will be provided with 100% grants in the respective legal order. The mechanism is as follows - associations submit an application to the municipality and sign an agreement with the mayor of the municipality. With this contract owners mandate the mayor to perform actions on their behalf in providing the necessary resources for the renovation of the building and organization of all activities under renovation.
The mayor in turn contracts targeted funding with the Bulgarian Development Bank and with the regional governor in his capacity as representative of the state. The main duties of the representative of the local authorities are to receive funds to organize activities for renovation, to conduct the procedures under the Public Procurement Act and the applicable regulations and to settle all activities. Methodological guidance of the programme will be implemented by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works in respect of the technical part and the finances needed for the budgeting.
The big question now, however, is who will profit from the 100% funding from the state. The opposition saw immediately a conspiracy. Socialist MP Maya Manolova said: "Before our eyes the biggest corruption model is played, which we have witnessed in recent years – i.e. the program for rehabilitation of multifamily housing panel buildings. I think that even children understood that it comes to a grand corruption scheme whereby the government is thinking to shop the upcoming local elections. We have enough information that the programme of rehabilitation will be made not with the view to municipalities and neighborhoods, but – with the view to polling stations, with an accurate estimate exactly which neighborhoods should be sanitized and what results GERB expects from that in the local elections," said she. The same position stated in mid-January also MPs from the nationalistic Ataka party.
Without falling into quite such extremes one should note that the most disadvantaged from this move will be the people who began to renovate under the housing programme "Regional Development", where the state was a far more modest helper - initially with 50% and then 75 %. According to the BANKER a large part of the applicants there and their associations of owners want to terminate the procedure initiated and transfer it to the National Programme.
This is logical given that their documents have been prepared, and they will not have to pay anything out of their pockets.