A financial correction of about BGN 90 million or 21% of the total value of the implemented projects in the water and sanitation sector will be imposed. This was commented by the Acting Minister of Environment and Water, Rositsa Karamfilova, at a joint press conference with the Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Arch. Ivan Shishkov in connection with the implementation of projects under the "Water" axis of the Operational Program "Environment" (OPES) 2014-2020.
"We are considering investing this freed financial resource in measures also in water supply infrastructure, because citizens have the right to adequate living conditions and a clean environment," she said. The need to immediately take measures and ensure the complete implementation of the started water supply projects in the eligibility period - 31.12.2023, made it necessary to find a solution for a way out of the situation together with the Ministry of Water Resources and Water Resources and "Bulgarian Water Supply Holding" EAD.
"We have no right to compromise, we must manage European funds like a good steward. We have had a successful start to the new "Environment 2021-2027" Program, we received a resource in October 2022 to continue in the direction of implementing the necessary actions to exit the criminal procedure in connection with non-fulfillment of the requirements of the Urban Water Treatment Directive. Our joint efforts are now aimed at minimizing the risk of loss of funds for the period 2014-2020. This will ensure the continuation of reforms in the water sector and the implementation of policies." The Minister of Environment and Water, Rositsa Karamfilova, commented on this today
The Executive Agency "Audit of European Union Funds" has requested the OPE Managing Authority to carry out an inspection of 34 construction contracts for a total of 20 projects, including 10 projects of water supply operators with 21 contracts and 10 projects of municipalities with 13 contracts. Out of all the contracts of the water supply operators, only in 4 no gaps and violations were found, in the remaining 17 contracts problems were found.
And just a few days ago, the head of the operational program Galina Simeonova assured 3eNews that there are no problems with the water supply projects and the financial corrections will not be more than BGN 5 million.
As a result of the inspection of 20 contracts with a total value of BGN 412 million with contracting water companies, a financial correction of 25% will be required. Criteria for the formation of the sample of 34 contracts were: to be worth more than BGN 5 million, with the subject of construction engineering and with the presence of main indicators of fraud in the public procurement, only one offer.
Violations include the selection of a contractor under a contract that does not meet the requirements of the public procurement, as well as the selection of a contractor that should have been removed due to deficiencies, as there were other companies, but they were removed from the competition.
The imposition of financial correction on the contracts with violations does not stop the implementation of the projects and an individual approach will be sought for each company to compensate the funds so that the projects are completed, explained the regional minister architect Ivan Shishkov. "Unfortunately, however, these irregularities committed in the period 2019-2020 will have to be paid for by all Bulgarian citizens," he said.
The resource under the "Water" axis of the OPOS is over BGN 1.8 billion, and about BGN 1 billion has been earmarked for the projects of water and sanitation operators who are beneficiaries of the program. These are 14 water and sanitation companies beneficiaries under the OPE with about 100 contracts after public procurement with individual contractors for the actual implementation of the projects, announced the Eco-Ministry.