MRRB: Six water and sanitation operators will not be able to complete their European projects now and partially transfer them to the next program period

Industry / Bulgaria
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Source: MRRB, archive

I am optimistic that the possible implementation of the projects from the water supply sector under the Operational Program "Environment 2014 - 2020" (OPES) will be done within this year, said the official Minister of Regional Development and Public Works Ivan Shishkov during the parliamentary control and quoted by BTA.

The minister announced that at the moment the phasing and transfer of implementation of certain investment projects under the current program to that for the next program period 2021-2027 will be implemented by water and sanitation operators with scope of action in the separate territories Burgas, Varna, Sliven, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora and Pernik, from where the corresponding financial resource will be secured, added the minister. Thus, these water supply operators will be able to complete the construction activities on time for the other investment projects as well.

According to the old operational program, 14 projects for the construction of water supply infrastructure are being implemented, and the beneficiaries of the procedure are the water supply operators of separate territories for the regions of Burgas, Varna, Vidin, Vratsa, Kardjali, Pernik, Smolyan, Plovdiv, Sliven, Stara Zagora, Shumen, Yambol, Ruse and Silistra. The projects of Vidin, Vratsa, Kardjali, Smolyan, Shumen, Yambol, Ruse and Silistra will be finalized in time, the minister said.

For Burgas, Varna, Sliven, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora and Pernik, there is some delay in the construction and installation works due to the later start of the public procurement and selection of contractors for the individual activities for various objective reasons. To minimize the risk, an individual approach is applied to each of the delayed objects, such as dividing the route into sections, Shishkov said. In cases where it is found impossible to implement the planned activities, a process is initiated to prepare for the phasing of the projects, and part of the activities are planned to be implemented under the "Environment" program 2021-2027. It is currently being specified which of the contracts will be approved and transferred to the new program, the minister said.

At the end of April, the Acting Minister of Environment and Water, Rositsa Karamfilova, at a joint press conference with the Acting Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Ivan Shishkov, announced that about BGN 90 million will be the financial corrections under 20 contracts from the water supply sector for projects financed under axis 1 of the Operational Program "Environment" 2014-2020, which have a total value of BGN 412 million. The percentage of financial correction is 25. The most problematic companies are ViK Burgas, Stara Zagora, Kardjali and Smolyan, in which the most drastic violations related to the Law on Public Procurement (PPA) were found, Minister Shishkov said at the time. Today, the minister announced that most likely Bulgaria will lose these 90 million BGN due to poorly made public procurements, for which we will be punished by the EC.

The resource that has been set aside under the OPE for the "Water" axis 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. The fourteen water and sanitation operators - beneficiaries under the OPOS, have concluded about 100 contracts for the actual implementation of the projects with individual contractors under the PPA.

A technical project is being developed for the bypass of Gabrovo from kilometer 20.124 to kilometer 30.673, including a tunnel under Shipka, the minister announced in response to another parliamentary question. The design and construction contract concluded in June 2022 stipulated a period of 240 calendar days for the preparation of a technical project. Due to the insufficient scope of the planned expropriated land, in January 2023 an additional agreement was concluded to the contract, with which the design deadline was extended until July 30, 2023. After the preparation and approval of the development and upon the issuance of a building permit, construction will be able to begin, the term being nearly 3.5 years from the initiation and signing of protocol 2A for the opening of the construction site, the minister said.

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