Sofia Mayor: Bulgaria Is Gray Economy Textbook Sofia_News_Agency - 2008/5/27
The Sofia Mayor Boyko Borisov said Wednesday Bulgaria could serve as a "gray economy" textbook for other countries.
Borissov made this statement at a round table in Sofia dedicated to the topic of the gray economy, organized by the Center for Study of Democracy.
He added that in the last twenty years numerous gray economy schemes have been executed publicly and with the government's knowledge while, at the same time, they have been presented as entirely legal business dealings.
Borissov gave the sale of municipal properties at prices twice lower than their real ones and their resale bringing billions in profit, as an example for such gray economy scheme.
The mayor also stated that there are circles of companies participating in bids and competitions arranged in advance by political parties where the companies promise to sponsor the party in order to win the competitions.
At the conference Borissov presented two topics that he would further discuss with the new Interior Minister Mihail Mikov.
The first one focuses on the establishment of a municipal police task force with the main duty of regulating traffic in Sofia, which is still a huge problem for the city. The second one is the creation of a new law for joint public and private partnership.
The mayor criticized the Cabinet for the delay and the confusion regarding the decision to close the duty free shops, but congratulated them on their successful tax reform.
Petar Oresharski, Bulgaria Finance Minister also made comments that the tax reform has been of primary importance in the fight against the gray economy.
He pointed out that the National Revenue Agency (NRA) also participates in the fight by using a variety of policies to improve the transparency in the business sector. One of them is the public announcement of the results of NRA's activities.
Oresharski defined the talks about customs violations as "folklore" since the Customs nova days have been receiving better and better external evaluations.
Valeri Dimitrov, Director of the National Audit Office spoke about the need for Bulgaria to increase the index of its economic liberty, but pointed out that in the last ten years the country has made significant progress in this direction.
According to Dimitrov Bulgaria as a state is failing in one major function - to control the obeying of the rules by all, which he sees as the main reason for the gray economy.