Eco Fund Spends More than Collects

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Three times more money is going to spend this year the State Enterprise for Management of the Environment Activities (Environmental Protection Fund). Exactly 113,778,707 levs has been recorded in the column costs, while in 2012 the amount was 36.3 million levs, and for 2011 it was 33,800,000. And since its income does not suffice for the implementation of the ambitious target, its bank accounts will have to be emptied. Now there is a sum of 60.5 million levs.

In practice, the 2013 budget of the enterprise, which many describe as the coffers of every government, expects to the unit collect 49 million levs from different eco-fees. Another 20 million levs will be received a transfer from the Ministry of Environment and Water, but since the law requires it to give back 6 million levs, what actually remains will be 14 million. So the revenue should reach 63 million levs, but this is unlikely, at least judging by the performance in the past 2012. Reports suggest that there has been a real time decline in revenue collection of the enterprise. Out of the planned 55 million levs what was achieved came to only 34.6 million levs. The decline is even more impressive if we compare it with the proceeds of 62.6 million levs in 2011. The greatest decrease in fees collected for water and use of water sites is based on licenses issued. And the reason is said to be the rescheduling of the obligations of water management companies due to the economic crisis. The revenue on the law on waste management is also shrinking, although last year a special product tax for small plastic bags was introduced. It was expected to bring at least 100 million levs, but obviously nothing like this has happened. On the other hand, the disposal of rubbish did not decrease. According to the report, the key lies in shifting part of the eco-tax to companies for the utilization of waste, whose business entirely disappeared from public view. Whether these explanations are true we may find in the next audit of the body.

As far as the revenues from fees under the protection of the atmospheric air are concerned, they are again in the red due to the reinstated product fee for Lukoil Bulgaria Bunker EOOD. It turns out that the company has paid in advance the taxes for fuel that it subsequently exported outside Bulgaria. At the same time in 2012 an increase in fees was registered only in the collected fees under the protected areas, which showed an increased use of natural resources. Even in this case, it is a very modest amount and the revenue has reached 241,000 levs against 174,000 levs a year earlier.

Against this background it is difficult to say now whether and how the revenue plan will be implemented for this year. But even if performance is at its best, this will take some 50 million levs to fix the loopholes in the expenditure side.

It is envisaged that about 27 million levs be covered by the operational programme Environment, in which the body has won the project for a total of 97 million levs. Otherwise, the money will go to the closure of municipal landfills that do not meet the legal requirements. For them about 10 million levs will be spent, the funds being collected from stamp duty, transfers from the ministry and under the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Programme. Because of the presence of such dumps at the end of 2012 the European Union has once again threatened Bulgaria with hefty fines because until July 16, 2009, the country had to have them closed.



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