Over BGN 340 million were paid off under Operational Program Environment (OPE) in the period 6 August – 10 October to municipalities, natural parks and ministries. Of them about BGN 244 million went to construction companies for activities done in construction of wastewater treatment plants, water and sewerage systems and waste depots. Nearly BGN 90 million was for the purchase of equipment to fight fires and floods by Ministry of Interior and for new public transport buses in Sofia. The remaining over BGN 5.5 million was used for the payment of projects connected to biodiversity performed by natural parks and NGOs. This is according to data of the Ministry of Environment and Water (MEW) for “Stroitel” newspaper.
In August caretaker government decided to allocate up to BGN 750 million from the state budget to pay under two suspended programs – OPE and Operational Program “Regional Development” (OPRD). Of these, Ministry of Finance allocated a limit of BGN 376 million for OPE and the remaining BGN 374 million for OPRD.
Calculations of the managing body of OPE show that from the limit are left BGN 36 million to be absorbed in October. Hopes are by the end of the month the European Commission to unfreeze payments under OPE that were suspended in November 2013 so that to proceed funding of projects without problems. This is extremely important not only for builders but for the state and society as well. The reason is that part of the projects should be successfully completed by the end of the year while others – next year in order our country not to lose European funding and people to have wastewater treatment plants and depots.
Before payments to be renewed under the two suspended programs – OPE and OPRD, as of the beginning of August duties to construction companies for activities under European projects were over BGN 1 billion, which set a number of companies on the verge of survival. BGN 304 million of the sum is for projects under OPE, BGN 188 million – under OPRD and BGN 150 million under Program for Development of Rural Regions. Besides, builders have performed engagements for over BGN 300 million under all European programs which however are not invoiced, so that VAT not to be transferred because of suspended payments.
According to Deputy Prime Minister Iliana Tsanova “there is good news” and in the end of October is expected at last EC to unfreeze payments under suspended in November 2013 OPE as well as for tourism under OPRD while for urban reconstruction under OPRD this will happen at the beginning of 2015. Bulgaria has sent the final audit reports on the two programs to Brussels on 7 October. Next week is expected EC experts to come to our country for final audit, Tsanova said.