NEW NAMES IN THE COUNCIL FOR FOREX POLICY
The Council for Forex Policy held its first session on October 1 with new members. The Council includes Svetoslav Gavrijsky, Governor of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), the central bank's vice governors Martin Zaimov and Bozhidar Kabakchiev, the Deputy Premier and Minister of Economy Nikolai Vassilev, the Finance Minister Milen Velchev and his deputy Krassimir Katev, the Chairman of the National Assembly Budgetary and Finance Commission Ivan Iskrov, and the Deputy Minister of Economy Sofia Kassidova.The Council for Forex Policy outlined the most important issues to be discussed: the drafting of the budget macro framework and the projections for the country's payment balance for the year 2002. The Minister of Finance Milen Velchev informed the BANKER weekly that by mid-October at the latest the Government would be ready with its stance on all issues, placed by the Mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the secound round of negotiations with the Fund would begin.The Council for Forex Policy was set up in the autumn of 1997 to coordinate the activities of the Government and of the BNB on financial matters of importance to the country. The Council included the former prime minister Ivan Kostov, BNB's Governor and his deputies responible for the central bank's Issue and Banking department, the vice premier coordinating the activities of the economic ministries, the ex-minister of finance, and his deputy in charge of the country's foreign debt. By October 2000 when BULBANK was sold, its former BoD chairman Chavdar Kunchev was also a memebr of the Council for Forex Policy. The formal motive for his participation in the consultative body was that by then BULBANK was acting as an agent of the Bulgarian government in the servicing of the country's foreign liablities. However, the real reason for attracting Mr. Kunchev to the Council was that he was one of the few persons, acquainted in details with Bulgaria's relations with its foreign creditors. However, Mr. Kunchev had sharply criticized the low price at which Ivan Kostov's cabinet sold BULBANK to UniCredito. Therefore, after its pivatisation Mr. Kunchev refused to stay in its managerial team and no longer attended the sessions of the Council for Forex Policy.