March 13, 2017
Today, AmCham Bulgaria Board members met with the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) to discuss AmCham priorities outlined in the 2017 White Paper for improvement of the business environment and to learn more about the economic and political platform of BSP. The latter was presented by Kornelia Ninova, chair of National Council of BSP, Dragomir Stoynev, economic expert and Zhelyo Boichev, MP.
AmCham representatives at the meeting were: Stanislava Taneva, Citibank Europe Plc, Bulgaria Branch, treasurer, Alex Nestor, AmCham executive director, Iravan Hira, Hewlett-Packard, Iva Todorova, IBM Bulgaria, Plamen Zhechev, Cisco, Stoyan Ivanov, The Coca-Cola Company, Zlatina Ruseva-Savova, individual member, and Petar Ivanov, individual member.
During the meeting both sides outlined common grounds in several areas of the economic development and better business climate.
Zlatina Ruseva-Savova said Bulgaria has to develop a more structured approach towards investors and assign a more important role to InvestBulgaria Agency. It was suggested that the latter should report directly to the Prime-Minister and should be elevated to a state agency in order to serve more effectively the business community.
All investors – foreign and Bulgarian shall be treated equally as it is of vital importance to attract new investments in the country, said Alex Nestor. The most important criteria for the AmCham are fair and transparent business practices in compliance with the Bulgarian laws.
Iva Todorova shared that the outdated labor legislation is also a huge issue, especially for the IT and outsourcing sectors.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.
“It is for the first time that BSP puts in its platform in the first place the economy, in particular the industry development and production, said Kornelia Ninova. BSP envisages state financing by establishing of 500 mln. BGN “Industry” fund for public-private partnerships. BSP stands also for the development of capital market and restructuring of the Bulgarian Bank for development in a way that it effectively facilitates small and medium size enterprises.
Kornelia Ninova further said BSP will introduce progressive income taxation of 20% for persons with more than 10 000 BGN monthly income.
Both sides recognized that the lack of rule of law and corruption are the main causes of poverty in the country.
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), Volya Political Movement of Veselin Mareshki, and The Reformist Block.