Nikolay Nankov: Restarting projects in the road sector is one of my main priorities

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Mr. Nankov, congratulations for your inauguration as Minister of Regional Development and Public Works. What are the first tasks that you will take?

On some of them we are already working but I will mention in the short term what our most urgent priorities are. We have assigned inspection of everything that has been done in the ministry for the past three months. I emphasize that this is not a revision. I want to know how far some of the key sites have reached and what problems are on them. The Internal Audit Directorate is conducting public procurement and finance audits. These are normal things.

As a top priority we restart some of the key sites in the road sector, among which is the implementation of the Zheleznitsa tunnel. You know the case with this project – the missing documents, the terminated procedure. On it we have to take the necessary action as quickly as possible to accomplish the site.

Another key priority not only in sector “Road infrastructure” but also for the ministry is the introduction of tolls. This is a fairer, socially responsible and solidarity charging model. Revenue from tolls for heavy goods vehicles and electronic vignettes for light cars will be generated using the republican network.

The procedure for the introduction of this method of payment has been terminated eight times. We have to restart the order within a short time. The introduction of the system will provide us with the necessary resources to adequately support and ensure the safety of the national road network, such as ongoing repairs, emergency and preventive activities and construction of new sections. I say that this is a fair and solidarity model because it is built on the European principle “the polluter pays”, i.e. one who uses more routes, pays more money. The revenues will be generated on the basis of the mileage and the tonnage of heavy goods vehicles.

What legislative changes will you enter through the Council of Ministers in the Parliamentary Committee on Regional Policy, Urban Development and Local Self-Government?

We will make some structural changes in the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works (MRDPW) with a new statute. Other important topics are landslides and geo-protection. Under the OPE are secured BGN 56 million. We have restored the Advisory Council to the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works for the prevention of landslide processes. We have problems with the staff in the National Construction Control Directorate. We need engineers. Whatever we are talking about, good experts are looking for more remuneration and therefore go to the private sector.

There are many directorates, secondary regulators and topics for which MRDPW is responsible. We will often meet with the management of BCC and Stroitel Newspaper. The Chamber is a valuable partner and we will continue to develop our good relationships. BCC and MRDPW are interrelated dimensions for achieving quality construction. We cannot do without builders, neither can they without us.

Are you familiar with the three bills drafted at the initiative of BCC – for spatial planning and regional development, for town planning and the construction bill?

Absolutely. The working group we are going to form to reduce the administrative burden in the sector will act on the basis of the BCC proposals. We also like MRDPW have ideas, as well as BCC and CEID. We have to balance the relations in the sector so that the biggest winner of these changes is our society, businesses and citizens.

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