WORLD BANK REPORTS DECLINE OF CORRUPTION IN BULGARIA
A World Bank study ranks Bulgaria 54th in the world in terms of progress in combating corruption. However, our country rates 11th in terms of limiting bribes in 2005. According to both indicators Bulgaria is lagging far behind Romania with which we are evaluated together due to the two country's future EU accession.
The World Bank report was presented in Sofia September 12 by representatives of the financial institution in the company of Economy and Energy Minister Roumen Ovcharov and his colleague from the Interior Ministry Roumen Petkov.
The World Bank survey, conducted for the third time since 1999, reports that corruption practices remain rampant in the public procurement sector, licensing, customs administration, judicial system, etc. Nevertheless, Cheryl Gray, co-author of the study and Sector Director in the World Bank's ECA region, established that payments under the table decreased in Bulgaria during the last there years. 54% of business representatives in Bulgaria confessed in 2002 that illegal practices were a serious problem to their operation, while that percentage dropped to 38% in 2005.
Mostly owners of small and medium-sized enterprises complained of corruption in public state administration last year. In 2002, 27% of them admitted they had to give bribes. Three years later that percentage rose to 30%, while the average level for the EU is 10 per cent. For big and already established Bulgarian companies the percentage dropped from 20% to 14% in the last 36 months, while the average for the EU is 6 per cent.