March 1, 2017
Today, AmCham Bulgaria Board members met with the Reformist Block at the AmCham office to discuss 2017 AmCham priorities for improvement of the business environment and to learn more about the economic and political platform of the Block. The latter was presented by Bozhidar Lukarski, chair of United Democratic Forces (SDS), Naiden Zelenogorski, chair of election headquarters, Antoni Trenchev, MP candidate.
AmCham representatives at the meeting were: Sergey Koinov, Forton International, vice president, Stanislava Taneva, Citibank Europe Plc, Bulgaria Branch, treasurer, Alex Nestor, AmCham executive director, Iravan Hira, Hewlett-Packard, Iva Todorova, IBM Bulgaria, Plamen Zhechev, Cisco, and Petar Ivanov, individual member.
During the meeting AmCham leadership stated that there is a lack of predictability in the political environment in Bulgaria and this is very concerning for any business. According to the Chamber’s representatives, Bulgaria has to develop a more structured approach towards investors and assign a more important role to InvestBulgaria Agency. The latter shall report directly to the Prime-Minister and shall be elevated to a state agency in order to serve more effectively business community, said AmCham representatives.
AmCham board members shared their view that the outdated labor legislation is also a huge issue, especially for the IT and outsourcing sectors. If the country would like to be competitive and attract more investors, it should go towards more flexible labor policy and legislation, including amendment of the overtime provisions; reduction of the administrative burden for employers; simplification of the procedures for high-skilled immigration.
The Reformist Block assured it will work for achieving a better and more predictable business environment, will continue with the judicial reform, will keep the current tax system, and will work for a more flexible labor policy and legislation. The Block stated it is open for a dialogue with AmCham business community and regular discussions of issues important for the business.
Naiden Zelenogorski elaborated on the need for greater autonomy of mayors and decentralization of local government.
Until now, AmCham has had meetings with Hristo Ivanov, “Yes, Bulgaria”, Radan Kanev, “New Republic”, Boyko Borissov, GERB Party, Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), and Volya Political Movement of Veselin Mareshki. The next scheduled meeting is with the Bulgarian Socialist Party.