Regulatory Regimes Keep Draining Fees from Businesses

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Bulgarians keep hearing promises how the government is to reduce the administrative burden on companies. Achievements are reported, facts are highlighted but what is concealed is that the regulatory regimes designated to be eliminated still sap over 100 million levs a year from businesses and citizens. The implementation of dozens of measures is delayed, often for unclear reasons.

Recently, the Council of Ministers adopted a report on the implementation of the second Action Plan (2012-2014) for a reduction of 20 percent of the administrative burden regulated with legislation. The plan contains 167 measures for the submission of information on electronic format and the web; automatic collection of data from other government agencies; elimination of duties; development of guidelines; simplifying the terminology and reducing the complexity of the regulations. By the end of 2013, according to the pooled results, the implementation of measures proceeded on schedule, allegedly. From a total of 90 planned for the period measures 82 were introduced, including one earlier than planned and nine were delayed because of the need to assess the impact.

In practice even a half of the initially planned has not been done because a total of 61 of those 82 measures were introduced before the middle of last year. Almost all of the delayed ones are related to electronic submission of various reports to the State Energy and Water Regulatory Commission and is completely incomprehensible what hinders their introduction.

Other measures, however, the introduction of which is forthcoming, have a huge financial implication. It is estimated for example that over 66.4 million levs will be saved through the simplifying of the technology and electronically delivering of sick leave notices to the National Social Security Institute (NSSI). The body has promised to do the job by the end of 2014 and to this end has established an interdepartmental working group with representatives of the ministries of healthcare, labor and social policy, and transport, as well as the Health Insurance Fund and the Medical Association. The legal framework for the establishment of an electronic register of medical certificates has already been adopted and draft regulations are now being developed as is also a job information system registry. Moreover, amendments to the Social Insurance Code and the Health Act have been made.

The removal of the requirement to keep a logbook for sick leaves and the checks if they are issued in accordance with the statutory requirements would have saved additional38,214,008 levs. This also needs to happen by the end of this year. Separately for about 5 million levs may be saved by the decision allowing employers to electronically file documents for the benefits of an employee to pregnancy and childbirth leaves. But it again all depends on the efficiency of the National Insurance Institute, which has eight months to do all the activities.



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