State-owned Mega-company to Be Established in Water Sector
The state will set up a single-shareholder joint-stock holding company called Bulgarski ViK Holding EAD Sofia (Bulgarian Water and Sewerage Holding SS JSC Sofia), Prime Minister Boyko Borissov told journalists at the start of the Council of Ministers meeting on Thursday.
It will be a fully state-owned company possessing 1 billion leva in capital, Regional Development and Public Works Minister Petya Avramova explained. The capital will be provided through a cash contribution by the state. The money will come from the 2020 state budget and will be transferred to the budget of the Regional Development Ministry.
Bulgarski ViK Holding will acquire and manage water and sewerage companies and firms engaged in building and repairing water and sewerage infrastructure. It will coordinate and manage the investment activities concerning the maintenance of water and sewerage infrastructure. Within six months after the holding company's establishment, the state-owned stakes in water and sewerage companies will be added to its capital in the form of non-cash contributions, Avramova said. This will increase the capital of the new company. The rights of the state in the future company will be managed by the Regional Development Minister.
Bulgarski ViK Holding will control all water and sewerage companies in which the state holds a stake. It will have a two-tier management: a Supervisory Board and a Management Board. The aim is to establish a long-term functioning model for the sector.
Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov expressed support for the idea. He said it is necessary to think on a much larger scale about an agency which will provide comprehensive management for the water sector in Bulgaria. He expects this to be accomplished shortly.
Environment and Water Minister Emil Dimitrov also supported the proposal, describing it as a timely measure which will ensure quicker absorption of EU aid.
Later in the day, Ivan Ivanov MP of BSP for Bulgaria told journalists in the National Assembly lobby: "This is just another attempt to blur responsibility, because putting all water and sewerage companies under a single authority means that everything that has happened up until now - all the theft in the water and sewerage companies and the flawed management - will be swept under the carpet and no one will bear the responsibility."