Банкеръ Weekly


Ministers Pay Millions on Flights

About BGN30 million is what the Government wastes a year on airfares for their trip abroad. Money, however, is practically unaccountable as it is almost impossible to grasp on what kind of items it spent. The title business trip may hide anything - from a true business trip, to a visit to a mistress to some exotic place. The list of people who fly at government expense is not strictly limited and nothing prevents a head of a department to enlarge it with a name or two. Not to mention that rates for the flights of those in power are the same or even higher than the standard ones, although tenders are held for discounted package prices.

As a matter of fact, it is the competition procedures for the supply of airline tickets that are one of the most dubious procedures the state conducts. Whether because of the big money there, or because of the many opportunities for corruption schemes, almost all such contracts go to court. And contracts are signed with a handful of companies - Argus Travel, Alma Tour BG, AEROTOUR MM, Hornit, Bulgarian VIP Travel, Astral Holidays, USIT Colours Bulgaria, Elite Travel International and Atlas Travel. Other players never have luck in these tenders.

With the idea to minimize the rig and put some limits on spending, Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov decided in 2010 to commission a centralized airfare tender for all ministries and their subordinate agencies, but to date his efforts have been unsuccessful. His centralized auction is blocked bby petitions and complaints to the Supreme Administrative Court, and during that time ministers hastily spend a million after million on new agreements with the mentioned companies.

Several days ago Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism Delian Dobrev has announced a competition for business trips of officials from his ministry. The intended target amount is over BGN1.55 million, and it should secure flights for the next 24 months. This makes about BGN65,000 per month. Obviously, many people will fly to many places. As she went, you will need to constantly crawling employees at airports in order to justify the high costs. For comparison we can say that all of our 240 MPs, along with the entire administration of the Parliament have BGN1.44 million available for flights over the next two years. The contract with the contractor - Bulgarian VIP Travel, was signed on October 8. On October 1, the administration of President Rosen Plevneliev signed a deal for BGN100,000 with Argus Travel to secure their annual flights.

The staff of the Ministry led by Mr. Dobrev will not only fly a lot, but also to very exotic places. Instead of the capital of Morocco - Rabat, which houses the most important institutions, they will visit the most popular resort in the country - Casablanca. What the statesmen will do there is not clear, but in the presence of golden beaches, blue seas and scorching sun they will surely come up with something. Officials opted for flights to Sao Paulo rather than the Brazilian capital Brasilia, where they would supposedly agree on a collaboration with Dilma Rousseff. The Cuban capital Havana is also on the list, although Bulgaria cannot possibly expect much Cuban investment in the next several years .

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