Sofia, December 3 (BTA) - Lack of skilled labour (71 per cent), corruption (61 per cent), poor education quality (47 per cent), mistrust of and negative attitudes towards the business (17 per cent), poor infrastructure (12 per cent), and civil pressure on investment projects (5 per cent) are among the main obstacle to doing business in Bulgaria. These findings of a survey conducted by the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) were presented by BIA Chairman Radosvet Radev at the 23rd Bulgaria Economic Forum 2019 in Sofia on Tuesday. The Forum is mottoed "The Bulgarian Economy at the End of 2019. Perspectives for the SMEs in 2020".
SMEs want a predictable legislative environment, while Bulgaria constantly changes its legal framework. In 11 months in 2019, the Labour Code was amended ten times, the Social Insurance Code four times and the Spatial Development Act six times. Companies need better access to financial instruments, Radev noted. The lack of a completed e-government also poses problems, along with the unreformed healthcare and social insurance systems.
In the World Bank Group's Doing Business 2019 report, Bulgaria slipped nine places, from 50th to 59th, in terms of ease of doing business. Starting a business in Bulgaria takes 23 days and seven procedures, obtaining a building requires 19 procedures and 97 days, and connecting to the electricity grid takes 262 days, which places Bulgaria 147th among 190 countries.
According to a World Bank and PriceWaterhouse Cooper report, it takes 441 hours to prepare and pay taxes in Bulgaria, compared with under 240 hours among the top performing countries, which ranks Bulgaria 97th out of 190 countries.
Against this background, it is not surprising that a mere 3.9 per cent of Bulgarians plan to start their own business in the next three years, said Radev, quoting Global Entrepreneurship Monitor data. This compares with 26 per cent in Croatia, Hungary, Poland, Latvia, Romania, and Macedonia. One million businesses were registered in Bulgaria in 1989-1990, compared with 413,000 now.
According to the BIA, improving the situation calls for promotion of innovations, access to financing, and state policies for incentivizing new businesses. RI/PP