Sofia's University of National and World Economy Threatens to File for Insolvency
ESD 18:34:01 23-04-2019
125 POLITICS - EDUCATION - FINANCING - UNIVERSITY
Sofia's University of National and World Economy
Asks Lv 10.3 Mln from Government,
Threatens to File for Insolvency
Sofia, April 23 (BTA) - The University of National and World Economy Tuesday released an open letter asking the government for 10.3 million leva needed to complete and outfit a new building, or else the university will become de facto insolvent.
The open letter is addressed to the Prime Minister and the ministers of finance and education.
Some 22,000 students are enrolled in the nearly 100-year-old university.
The project was launched in 2016 and is to be completed in 30 months, this coming June. It is to be financed with an EU grant of 4.5 million leva under Operational Programme (OP) Regions in Growth, and 7.5 million leva provided by the Finance Ministry through the Education Ministry.
The building company stopped work in 2017 and will not resume it unless it is paid.
The university's leaders are asking that the state financing be released as soon as possible, claiming that otherwise the EU grant will have to be paid back with interest by the State.
The Rector, Prof. Stati Statev, argued that the university's accounts may be frozen, making it impossible to pay grants and salaries.
Education Minister Krassimir Vulchev said there were no provisions for the demanded payment in the Ministry's budget, adding that the Finance Ministry had pledged to co-finance the project in 2016. "The point of contention is whether the funding under the Operational Programme should be used up before the State co-financing is made available or vice versa," said Vulchev.
For its part, the Finance Ministry issued an open letter, saying that it remains committed to providing up to 7.5 million leva, but only after the EU grant is fully absorbed, which is not the case.
The Finance Ministry also refused to put up an extra 2.7 million leva for unforeseen construction works and equipment of the new study facilities.
The letter said the Minister would order a financial inspection into the university's compliance with the Public Procurement Act in the award of a construction contract. LN/DD