The projects „2014 – 2020“ – of higher quality and efficiency
The projects in the water sector of the programming period 2014 – 2020 should be more effective and more qualitative compared to those of the previous period. It is necessary to be created standardized procedures for conducting public procurement and standard contracts for implementation of the projects. This opinion expressed participants in the Fifth national conference “OP Environment and the Rural Development Program – in transition to the new operational period”, organized by Bulgarian Construction Chamber (BCC), Bulgarian Water Association (BWA) and “Stroitel” newspaper. The company of BCC possesses the first certificate in Eastern Europe for sustainable events management ISO 20121:2012. The forum was held in Sofia Balkan Hotel and gathered over 200 representatives of the managing authorities, contractors, designers, consultants, builders, supervision companies. The event was opened by Minister of Environment and Water Ivelina Vasileva. “We are facing a key moment as five weeks remain to the end of the programming 2007 – 2013 period. At the same time we launched activities related to the implementation of projects in the next 2014 - 2020 period. Now is the time and place to report what was made and to outline steps for the future,” she said. “The fact that for the fifth consecutive time together with colleagues from BWA we gather senior representatives of the executive, the expertise of contractors, designers, builders and suppliers shows that the conference has established as the broadest specialized discussion forum in the sector,” said at the opening Eng. Svetoslav Glosov. The discussion was also attended by Nikolai Nankov, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Vasil Grudev, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food, Stanislav Ivanov, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Water, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Borislav Velikov, Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Science, Malina Krumova, Director of “Systems for EU Funds Management” Directorate at the Council of Ministers, Yana Georgieva, Director General of DG “Operational Program Environment”, Ivanka Videnova, Director of Water Supply and Sewerage Directorate to MEW, Elena Ivanova, Head of Department “Social and Economic Development of Rural Regions” to MAF, Reneta Georgieva, CEO of the Enterprise for Management of Environmental Protection Activities, and others. “Thank you for the opportunity and pleasure to participate in the fifth national conference on the development of water supply and sewerage infrastructure and the use of funds under OP “Environment” and the Rural Development Program,” said Minister of Environment and Water Ivelina Vasileva at the opening of the forum. “We are facing a key moment as five weeks remain to the end of the programming 2007 – 2013 period. At the same time we launched activities related to the implementation of projects in the next 2014 – 2020 period. Now is the time and place to report what was done and to outline steps for the future,” she stressed adding that construction of water supply and sewerage infrastructure has various aspects and benefits can be sought in many directions. According to her, water infrastructure is an element of the welfare of people in our country, opportunity for access to basic public services such as water supply and sewerage. “Except citizens, the business is also a user of public facilities, their existence and proper functioning is a prerequisite for development of the industry. Tourism is highly dependent on modern and reliable water network. However, the construction of such sites has place in a broader and more strategic plan – namely in the policies for conservation of water and the environment,” she said. “Having a clean environment – in particular water, and the sustainable development of economic activities has long been recognized as strategic conditions for the progress of society. I want to focus on this wider framework recognizing that undoubtedly OPE and RDP are important tools but still these are financial funds that support the implementation of policies,” said Vasileva. “OPE 2007 – 2013” has a budget of BGN 3.5 billion, as 70% of which are aimed at supporting water and sewerage infrastructure. Until now, payments under the operational program amount to BGN 3.372 billion. A total 228 projects were implemented, and are expected 208 more to finish. Particularly in sector “Water” was paid BGN 2.436 billion. Only this year have been transferred more than BGN 1 billion,” she said. “We are proud to report that together with builders, designers and supervision we managed to lay a new water and sewerage network, with a length of over 2,550 km,” said Vasileva. The sites are on the territory of over 80 settlements scattered across the country. In order to ensure a smooth transition between the old and the new programming period, from MEW have agreed the implementation of early projects. The main focus of “OPE 2014 – 2020” will be again water and sewerage infrastructure and as until now 70% of its funds will be directed towards such construction sites. This represents nearly BGN 2.3 billion. The implementation will start with major projects for the municipalities of Plovdiv, Asenovgrad, Dobrich, Pleven – Dolna Mitropolia. The available resources are with indicative value of BGN 402 million. Besides, five more projects will be implemented after a positive opinion from JASPERS. The new focus in “OPE 2014 – 2020” is the presence of financial engineering. The operational program will allocate BGN 240 million, which through Fund manager of financial instruments in Bulgaria will be doubled by attracting additional resources, to be reinvested in the water and sewerage sector. According to her, it will give soft loans or funds through other tools that are currently being negotiated with international financial institutions. The Fund will receive also 8% from axis “Waste”, i.e. nearly BGN 45 million, for which the idea is also to multiply. In the words of Minister Vasileva, in terms of project implementation the main weaknesses are due to the lack of proper planning at all levels and from different participants in the process. This includes also the funding body, municipalities and others. “The intensive performance at the end of the programming period has led to a stress in the need to ensure both manpower and equipment. Thanks to the builders for the complete mobilization,” the minister said adding that difficulties have created the lack of underground cadaster and adequately trained experts to deal with design and planning. “At the beginning I want to thank the organizers of the event. Admiration to them,” said Nikolai Nankov, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works. “After approval of operational programs for the programming 2014 – 2020 period, as well as RDP before all of us stands the really serious challenge to find the optimal and most efficient way to take advantage of European solidarity. As institution responsible for implementing the policy in the sector “Water supply and sewerage” in MRDPW we insist very much to follow the integrated approach and all of us in the sector to have a sequence of actions but also to promote the development of constructiveness and cooperation,” he stressed. “If we do rough calculations we can see that public resources under the Enterprise for Management of Environmental Protection Activities, Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works, or municipal budgets, and these of water operators will not exceed BGN 1 – 1.5 billion. We can see that the resources of OPE and RDP will be the main source of policy making,” said the Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Public Works. “Very dynamic months are coming. We will sign the contracts for regional feasibility studies of 14 separated areas with consolidated water operators, excluding Smolyan and Sofia, which already have approved such. All contracts between water associations and water operators in the country, which will be 29, should be initialed. Last but not least is the preparation and approval of the five-year business plans. They will be made on new guidelines and regulatory basis of the water companies,” said Nankov. “Allow me first to congratulate the organizers for having managed to collect on one table all parts of the puzzle, which we call water sector, and especially the people related to its financing. We cannot exclude the industry from its key role in protecting the environment and making full use of the water resources. It also has socio-economic impact,” said Vasil Grudev, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food. In his words, these are the reasons why there is a commitment several operational programs to contribute for achieving the goals in the sector. “The rural development program has its own peculiarities. It performs slightly different strategy but it is equally necessary to achieve the overall effect of modernizing the water sector,” he said. There are 233 signed contracts worth BGN 788 million – with 136 municipalities, which are the main beneficiary under RDP for investments related to the sector. Those who managed to submit on time final payment requests will be funded by the end of this calendar year. Rehabilitated are 1,722 km of the water supply network and 83 km of sewers. There are 326 km of new pipelines and 518 km sewerage. “Of course, as each beginning “RDP 2007 – 2013” started quite hard – with a lot of mistakes, as part of them I am sure will be removed from “RDP 2014 – 2020”, explained Grudev and said that in 2016 the program will be focused on municipalities. In early July 2016 will open the first big reception for municipalities, including investments in the water sector. “For me, that we with Eng. Ivan Ivanov open the fifth conference on two of the most important operational programs for the construction industry – OPE and RDP is a pleasure and a privilege. This is a clear sign of sustainability of the policy and commitment of the Bulgarian Construction Chamber to reforms in the water sector and creation of conditions for successful implementation of projects in the industry,” said Eng. Svetoslav Glosov, Chairman of BCC. “The fact that for the fifth consecutive time together with colleagues from BWA we gather senior representatives of the executive, the expertise of contractors, designers, builders and suppliers shows that the conference has established as the broadest specialized discussion forum in the water sector. This year it coincides with the actual completion of projects from the 2007 – 2013 programming period and with expectations for the start of the new sites in the next period. For builders this transition year has been and is still intensive. Currently finishing works are performed on several projects,” he said. According to Eng. Glosov, the period 2007 – 2013 has given the opportunity for companies to gain experience in the implementation of large infrastructure projects. “We can boast with a number of best practices and lessons learned. I take the opportunity to thank Minister Vasileva, representatives of the regional ministry and the ministry of agriculture, and the managing authorities for the good dialogue which is essential for quality and timely implementation of large and complex projects. The Chamber is a partner whose expertise you can always rely on. I congratulate my colleagues from the companies for the successes demonstrating the capacity and capabilities of the Bulgarian builder,” said the Chairman of the Board of BCC. “The conference aims at examining what happens under OP “Environment” and the Rural Development Program. We can safely say that we are at the end of the 2007 – 2013 programming period, which presupposes thorough analyses of what has been implemented and what the realized brings as final effect on the environment and people’s lives,” said Eng. Ivan Ivanov, Chairman of BWA and moderator of the first panel. “The conclusions from them will undoubtedly be discussed. Our big goal is not to analyze just what is happening but to go deeper in the processes of program implementation and to seek different points of view of all participants, starting from the Managing authority and passing through contractors, designers, construction companies, water operators that subsequently operate with the equipment made thanks to these investments. We do this five years now and I think it brings its beneficial effect on OPE and RDP,” he said. “The programming 2014 – 2020 period is already underway. We start slowly but with big ambitions,” he said. “Given the conditions we have in “OPE 2014 – 2020”, the main part of the investments will focus at the end of 2018. In practice for real implementation of the projects will remain three years to the end of the period,” said Yana Georgieva, General Director of GD “Water Supply and Sewerage” to MEW. “As it is not good to hurry to not compromise the quality, we should review very well what we have done so far and determine how and where there is place for improvement. I promise from 1 January 2016 I will take the helping hand of the Chamber of Builders in Bulgaria and its expert capacity to work together,” she said. “Measures have been taken to improve the efficiency, management and regulation of the sector. We provide a regional approach when planning investments in the water infrastructure,” said Ivanka Videnova, director of Directorate “Water Supply and Sewerage” to MRDPW. “Projects in the water sector within the current programming period will be financed under Measure 7 “Basic services and village renewal in rural areas” of RDP. Its total budget is EUR 625 million, of which over EUR 200 million are provided for this infrastructure,” said Elena Ivanova, head of department “Social economic development of the rural regions”, Directorate “Development of the rural regions” to MAF. “We are working now actively on sub measure 7.2 to support investments in the creation, improvement or expansion of all types of small scale infrastructure, including investments in renewable energy and energy saving. The announcement of reception on it is forthcoming within the next year,” she added. In the second panel Malina Krumova, Director of “Systems for EU Funds Management” Directorate at the Council of Ministers, presented the work of the new MIS 2020. “If we have to speak about lessons learned, then I think that the main one is that the previous period was badly planned first as inadequate legal framework. Some legal problems still exist. We use an extremely bureaucratic Law on Spatial Planning, which hampers the investment process,” said Andrey Tsekov, Deputy Chairman of BCC. He reminded that the Construction Chamber six months ago united around the opinion that it recommends the use of FIDIC contracts for all operational programs, as far as contracts are tested in practice and are relatively objective. During the second panel were made company presentations by Anastasia Stoimenova, manager “Infrastructure and Logistics” to Geostroy AD and Eng. Plamen Kostov, head of project “Stanilov” Ltd. Moderator was Eng. Ivan Mollov, representative of BCC. In the third panel led by Assoc. Prof. Dimitar Alichkov, board member of BWA, were discussed the current regulations for design – strong and weak sides, the viewpoint for challenges of the supplier, the aspects of regional feasibility studies and others. Nina Valcheva, administrative director of “HTI Bulgaria” Ltd, presented the business of the company for the needs of construction and the industry. The foreign guest to the forum – Aleksandar Djukic, General Secretary of Serbian Water Pollution Control Society, presented the prospects for our neighboring country to meet European environmental standards.