Forum Discusses Economy's Competitiveness and Prosperity

March 14 (BTA) - Opening a roundtable discussion mottoed
"For a Competitive and Prosperous Bulgarian Economy" on
Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev admitted that
low labour costs won't be a competitive advantage even in four
to five years. Weeks earlier Prime Minister Boyko Borissov also
acknowledged for the first time that the low wages did not
attract foreign investments but made good workers and
specialists seek job prospects abroad.

The big question before the Bulgarian economy is how to migrate
to a new evolutionary level, because the growth of labour costs
outspaces GDP growth, Donchev went on to say.

High added value, innovations, digitalization, and
knowledge-based economy are the next evolutionary step, he said.
 Any intervention in the economy by the state has a bad side too
 as it distorts the market.

The Deputy Prime Minister said that prosperity can be improved
in two ways: by producing more and by redistributing national
wealth efficiently. Donchev admitted that now the national
wealth is distributed poorly.

Addressing the forum, President Rumen Radev said that Bulgaria's
 economy should be restructured and that the time has come for
strategic decisions.

The President noted the strong presence of government ministers
and said that the key to a strong, competitive and sustainable
economy is the open and timely dialogue between all participants
 in the process.

The head of State said that although the cabinet ministers have
reasons to speak of high economic growth, the question is why
this growth cannot be translated into higher incomes and living
standard and better quality of life, infrastructure, healthcare
and education. He asked whether the present rate of economic
growth is enough and added that the gap between Bulgaria and
Central and East European countries is widening.

Radev touched on the topic of foreign investments and said that
their increase by 10 per cent this year is encouraging. However,
 he added that it is important to assess the nature and
structure of these investments as only investments in the
industry can ensure sustainable economic growth. He further said
 it was important to look into the factors which drive investors

Radev called for assessment of business operations with low
added value and innovative businesses and whether businesses in
Bulgaria get equal treatment when it comes to access to EU funds
 and public procurement tenders and whether they are content
with the quality and predictability of the lawmaking process.

The President said that economy is becoming increasingly a
hostage to demography.

Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said that the government
maintains a stable fiscal position which is a good foundation
for the competitiveness of the economy. Goranov said that the
ruling coalition plans to leave taxation unchanged.

Goranov said that in the next few months the government will
direct its efforts into stepping up cooperation with the
European Central Bank with regards to banking supervision and
applying for ERM II, the euro waiting zone.  According to
Goranov, these are the prerequisites to improving the conditions
 for investment and Bulgaria's standing within the EU.

Thursday's forum is held under the auspices of President Rumen
Radev and is organized by the Bulgarian Industrial Capital
Association, the Bulgarian Industrial Association and the
Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Participating are
government ministers, representatives of employer organizations,
 public institutions and economic analysts. LI/PP


Source: Sofia