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Guidelines for the Activity 2014-2018

XXXIII Regular General Assembly of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

GUIDELINES

for the ACTIVITY of the BULGARIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY
for the period 2014 - 2018

 

WE – CONJOINT IN THE BULGARIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY (BCCI) REPRESENTATIVES of the entrepreneurship, trade unions, regional chambers/associations and other non-profit organisations – members of the 33rd General Assembly of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI), held on 17th June 2014, in fulfillment of powers according to Article 23, Paragraph 1, Item 2 of the BCCI’s Statutes,

LED BY THE WISH TO ACHIEVE THE FOLLOWING OBJECTIVES:

  • Improve the business conditions for entrepreneurial activities in the Republic of Bulgaria;
  • Expand the national, European and non-European markets for Bulgarian goods and services;
  • Stability of Bulgarian economy;
  • Enhance the attractiveness of our country for investments

JOIN OUR EFFORTS AT THE BCCI TO ACHIEVE RESULTS IN THE FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS:

  1. GUARANTEEING THE MACROECONOMIC STABILITY TRHOUGH:
    1. Abiding by the rules of the currency board till the Republic of Bulgaria’s accession to the Eurozone.
    2. Continuing adherence to the conditions for Bulgaria’s accession to the Eurozone.
    3. Accelerating the implementation of the e-government.
    4. Not exceeding GDP’s 35 % on redistribution of funds through the budget, including:
      • Extensive introduction of e-services combined with a decrease of the number of the public officials;
      • Reforms aimed at public expenditure efficiency; reducing the costs for business;
      • Retraction of the state from activities that are non-public in nature (information, consulting and other services), and are offered by legal non-profit organisations or traders; if the state is required to carry out such activities they should be handled through awarding – under the procedures of the public procurement;
      • Providing sectorial organisations with administration of less regulatory regimes (registrations) by the state authorities, based on competition and according to legally established criteria – adopting a Law on Sectorial Organisations.

  2. IMPROVEMENT OF THE CONDITIONS FOR ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
    1. Adoption of legal guarantees for transparency on the activities of monopoly companies, including through a wider awareness on the control exercised by the state and through civil monitoring on these activities;
    2. Sharp reduction in the number of the central regulative regimes and their alleviation (through standardization of documents and procedures, as well as their electronization), transfer of registration regimes to branch organisations on a competitive basis, according to re-announced  (stipulated) criteria/conditions;
    3. Acceleration and improvement of the quality of the administrative services through standardization and electronization of documents and procedures;
    4. Regulation in the Administrative Procedure Code of the general presumption for the “Tacit Consent”, unless otherwise provided; advanced implementation into the special laws of the principle of the “Tacit Consent”; regulated procedure for proving the tacit consent;
    5. Standardization of methodology/approach for establishing all state fees on a cost-based principle;
    6. Setting in the Law on local self-government and administration of clear and tangible conditions, that can bring to local regulative regimes – this legal change to be made after analysis of the current municipal regimes and assessment of the scope of the required regulations;
    7. Criteria related to reducing and alleviating the local regulative regimes to be included in the methodology for the evaluation of projects, submitted for funding by “Development of the regions” Fund, including the adoption by the municipal councils of a methodology/approach for establishing of all municipal fees on a cost-based principle;
    8. Standardization of methodology for the preliminary and ongoing assessment of the impact of adopted and applicable normative acts; strict observance of the regulatory requirements for preliminary and ongoing assessment of the impact of normative acts’ projects and of the adopted ones;
    9. Enhancing the control on the observance of the taxation, insurance and customs regime (especially regarding commodity importation at reduced prices and commodities that violate industrial property rights), fast execution of administrative and punitive sanctions upon violations, in order to strongly curb the grey sector and corruption.
    10. Enhancing state control and civil monitoring as well as transparency in public procurement assignments by including representatives of branch organisations into the assessment committees;
    11. Revocation of the principle of regulative establishment of the minimum work salary for all industries and sectors; the Council of Ministers shall establish the minimum work salary according to a prior adopted methodology only for several industries/sectors of high public profile and influence;
    12. Regulation of the preliminary procedure to determine the minimum social security income – MSSI (by negotiating of the MSSI at branch level), as well as the methodology for regulation of MSSI in sectors where there is no bilateral agreement;
    13. Revocation of the mandatory provisions of the employer not directly related to the production activity – these obligations remain to be the commitment/responsibility to the employer in the area of the corporate social responsibility (e.g. those related to the trade unions activity, such as: granting trade union activists with additional leave, creating working conditions for the trade unions, prior coordination with the trade unions regarding the introduction of the part-time employment, withdrawal of the trade unions’ right to visit enterprises and require explanations from the employer, termination of employment of a member of the trade union’s management; related to non-production activities of workers and employees, including related to health and occupational safety conditions, such as: financing of social and cultural services for the workers/employees; payment of periodic medical examinations of the workers/employees; drawing-up a program for carrying out instructions at the workplace in accordance with the health and occupational safety conditions (HOSC); drawing-up programs for carrying out trainings in the enterprise in accordance with the health and occupational safety conditions (HOSC); carrying out initial instructions in accordance with the HOSC);
    14. Optimization of the tax and social security regime, through:
      • Observance of the principle of “the state – perfect payer” in proceedings of recovery of the value added tax on public procurement executed contracts and issued writs of execution;
      • Elimination of the tax on dividends and reduce by 5% of the income tax on sole proprietorship;
      • Reduce the statutory time limits for recovery of the value added tax (VAT);
      • With a right to tax credit under the VAT Act to avail investments in state and municipal infrastructure, related to the implementation of investment projects;
      • Improvement of the rule of the so called “joint liability” under Art. 177 of the VAT Act – limiting the assumptions of liability of a taxable person in cases of abuse in the chain of contractual relations;
      • Equal distribution (50/50) between employer and worker/employee of the due insurance contribution;
      • Establishment of personal insurance contribution to the public sector employees;
      • Revocation of employer’s obligation to pay the worker/employee a compensation for the early days of temporary disability;
    15. Legislative changes aimed at facilitating the activity of the SMEs, by revocation of mandatory obligations related to:
      • Notice/request for authorization of/by the Labor Inspectorate under Art. 333 of the Labor Code (in cases of extended working hours of the workers/employees; when applying disciplinary dismissal for violation of labor discipline, due to systematic violation of labor discipline, absence from work for two consecutive days, misuse employer’s trust, fraud in the price, weight etc. of goods sold and for participation in gambling);
      • Adoption of: regulations of internal work discipline and internal rules of health and occupational safety conditions; conclusion of a binding agreement with the occupational health service – such an employer shall be required to implement simplified standard rules, adopted by the Agency for SMEs and by the Labor Inspectorate, and developed jointly with the social partners;
      • Scheduling employees’ leaves; keeping an audit book according to the Labor Code;
      • Separate waste collection;
      • Establishing Committee of Task Force on labor conditions;
    16. Legislative regulation of the protection of the unique identification numbers, provided by the national organization GS1 Bulgaria with the BCCI – member of the International organization GS1;
    17. Revocation of the requirement for restoration of the status on agricultural land in the cases when it is not built-up in a 3-year period (respectively 6-year period for already existing cases);
    18. Balanced channeling of the funds to the main infrastructure (rail, road, sea, river and airport) to ensure competitive conditions of activity of the various modes of transport;
    19. Implementation of measures for carrying out the policy “Trust the Bulgarian”, aimed at promoting the use of Bulgarian goods and services and increase consumers’ trust in them;
    20. In accordance with “Small Business Act for Europe” and in order to increase employment of women and raise their income – to promote women entrepreneurship as guided by this Act, as well as based on best European practices identified in the Act: implementation of measures to encourage women to establish their own enterprises; promoting entrepreneurship among women graduates; developing entrepreneurial culture among women; microcredit programmes aimed at women-entrepreneurs, implementation of projects aimed at creating a network portal for women entrepreneurs (for publishing tenders for goods and services, searching for partnerships, investments etc.).

       
  3. ENHANCING THE ASSIMILATION OF EUROPEAN FUNDS’ RESOURCES  
    1. Ensuring greater transparency in operating with the European funds’ resources, including those under the Rural Development Programme through regulating a common integrated system.
    2. Conducting consultations with the social partners in drafting all strategic documents in compliance with the following requirements (EC Regulations of 04.01.2014 on European Code of Conduct Partnership within the framework of the European Social Investment Fund):
      • Timely release of the relevant information;
      • Ensure easy access to information;
    3. Providing mechanisms through which partners would be able to ask questions, to submit their contribution and receive information about the way in which their suggestions have been considered;
    4. Facilitating the application process and project reporting through:
      • Unification of the beneficiaries’ documentation under the various operational programmes;
      • Wide introduction of the electronic submission of the project proposals and reports on implementation of projects;
      • Reduce the bureaucratic procedures in project reporting by regulated comprehensiveness and singleness of the remarks by the ruling/contracting bodies;
      • Clear criteria and transparency in the selection of assessors of the project proposals;
    5. Increase the amount of the advanced payments under grants by searching alternative forms of bank guarantees, especially for the SMEs;
    6. Assessment of the effectiveness of using Grants under the European Social Fund and the the impact on the business environment in Bulgaria.
    7. Fast prosecution of officials, faulty for suspension or detention of European funding.
    8. Active participation in the implementation of the EC Action Plan “Entrepreneurship 2020” through:
      • Organizing trainings on entrepreneurship in support to starting own business and creating new enterprises;
      • Contribution to creating favorable conditions for the growth and development of the businesses.

         
  4. PROVIDING CONDITIONS FOR SUCCESSFUL RESTRUCTURING, SECURITY OF SUPPLIES AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE ENERGY SECTOR IN BULGARIA, TRHOUGH SUPPORT IN:  
    Development of new energy policy and strategy programs and projects in Bulgaria, reflecting long-term perspectives of industrial development, suppliers and consumers in key economic sectors, including:
    1. Restructure, recovery and stabilization of the electric power system – including through investments in clean energy sources, generation, transmission and distribution, supplies and deliveries, customer service;
    2. Improving the investment climate in the gas sector – including connecting to the gas transmission networks of the neighboring countries, development of backup gas sources and installations of the enterprises and domestic gas networks;
    3. Development of the free market of fuels and energy – including through the development of the legislative and regulatory framework and institutions, deregulation and liberalization of market regulations and relations, fostering competitiveness and quality;
    4. Improving the energy efficiency in industry – including through implementing standards, technologies, systems and solutions for energy company management, through active cargo management in the free market.
    5. Improving energy efficiency in transport – including the support of institutionalization of transport energy, implementation of measures to save fuels and energy in transport;
    6. Improving energy efficiency in buildings and facilities – including the development of professional facility management, financing and execution of energy implementation contracts, implementation of intelligent systems and networks;
    7. Improving energy efficiency in households – including through policy support to surmount energy need, to associate interests of the end energy consumers through education and training;

       
  5. IMPROVEMENT OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM TO IMRPOVING THE CAPACITY OF THE LABOR MARKET:
    1. Outlining and implementing efficient practical measures for a closer link between education/vocational training and the need of the economic entities;
    2. Improving the education system in order to ensure flexible labor force for its transition from one economic sector into another;
    3. Simplifying the procedures for recognizing education acquired abroad and removing hindrances to recognizing education received in EU member-countries;
    4. Binding further investments in the education system with reform obligations also in the direction of modernizing the educational content, enhancing the qualification of teachers and trainers, regulation of the public-and-private partnership;
    5. Promoting vocational training in perspective and key economic sectors such as the high-tech professions.

       
  6. IMPROVEMENT OF THE BIPARTITE AND TRIPARTITE COOPERATION
    1. Specifying by legislation (in the Additional provisions and in art. 3б, para 3 of the labor Code):
      • The term “branch/sector”;
      • Representativeness criteria of the representative at sectorial/branch level organisations of employers, as explicitly stipulated that these organisations must meet the requirements under art. 35, para 1, p. 2 of the Labor Code.
    2. Regulation of the following requirements (in art. 51б, para 4 of the Labor Code) for the extension of collective labor contracts (CLC) and their mandatory nature at sectorial/branch level:
      • CLC in the respective sector/branch must be concluded between all sectorial/branch employers’ organisations and trade unions (not only the representative ones);
      • Employers who are not members of sectorial/branch employers’ organization to express their explicit consent to join the signed CLC;
      • The signed CLC to be binding only to employers who are members of sectorial/branch organisations, who have signed the CLC or expressed their explicit consent to join;
      • Minister of Labor and Social Policy to have the right to assess the legality of the clauses of the concluded CLC and not to extend to the unlawful clauses;
      • The extended CLC must be published at the State Gazette..
    3. Regulation (by creating a new section III to the Rules of the Organization and Procedure of the Councils for Tripartite Cooperation) of the guarantees aimed at transparency and publicity of the work of the Councils for Tripartite Cooperation by creating webpages of the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation, branch/sectorial and regional councils for tripartite cooperation where the following is published:
      • Current texts of the acts to be discussed in the Councils for Tripartite Cooperation;
      • Agendas and minutes of the meetings held;
      • Written statements by the social partners;
      • Annual plans and activity reports by the Councils for Tripartite Cooperation;
      • Adopted and entered into force acts, being discussed in the Councils for Tripartite Cooperation with the assessment of the recorded statements of the social partners.

         
  7. OPTIMIZING AND INCREASING EFFICIENCY OF THE ACTIVITIES OF THE BCCI IN SUPPORTING BULGARIAN COMPANIES
    1. Support through the regional chambers of commerce and industry and the national directorates of the branch organisations (respectively the Council of Presidents and the Council of Sectorial Organisations) – to expand the regional structures of the branch organisations.
    2. Support (by GS1 Bulgaria Council with BCCI) for the implementation of the GS1 system into Bulgarian healthcare;
    3. Rendering assistance to members of the BCCI in order to increase their expert potential to present quality projects and active participation in the absorption of European funds aimed at Bulgaria under the operational programmes, by:
      • Organizing information seminars and training sessions on open invitations under the Operational Programmes;
      • Providing personalized consultations on choosing the right programme and priority;
      • Providing personalized consultations on the establishment of administrative compliance and eligibility criteria;
      • Personalized consultations and support to the SMEs in the preparation of a draft-proposal including the new instrument aimed at the small and medium sized enterprises “Horizon 2020” – general guidelines, activities, planning, reporting;
    4. Digitization of the services of the BCCI (in particular services provided by the “International Cooperation and International Organisations” Directorate) in:
        • Organizing webinars - on-line seminars (participation in seminars, training sessions, workshops etc., without leaving the office or by visiting the BCCI, and the possibilities to use speakers and participants from all over the world), using  Openmeetings, WebHuddle, BigBlueButton and equipments;
        • Organizing video trade conferencing (organized video conference meetings in real time, at the BCCI or in the office of the corresponding company), via skype or by means of other specialized programs.
        • Using partner finding systems – matching systems (for organizing business forums registration is made on-line with automatically proposed partners and fixed meetings);
    5. Increasing the awareness of the entrepreneurs in the field of “business etiquette” (for making useful contacts, by enriching the knowledge on business etiquette – meetings, presentations, national characteristics, protocol) – trainings prior to a business event, as part of the preparation for foreign trade or independent learning.
    6. Running the technologically updated information system of the Unified Trade Register of the BCCI – in order to update the existing functionality, to optimize and upgrade the data models, to improve user interface and achieve greater speed when drawing-up reports;
    7. Creating opportunities for the companies to be able to submit information and documents for validation of registered circumstances via the public part of the Trade Register on the internet;
    8. Implementation of new electronic services related to:
        • Submission of application forms and documents for the issuance and validation of certificates of origin of goods, export invoices etc., serving the export activities of the companies.
        • Filing documents and issuing ATA Carnets;
    9. Supporting the competitiveness of the members of the BCCI and raising their credit rating by providing a new service: issuance of Excellent SME Certificate (Certificate of Excellence for the small and medium sized enterprises). This certificate will be issued jointly with the Rating Agency “Coface Bulgaria Credit Management Service” LTD. and “Conet”, Ljubljana, Slovenia;
    10. Upgrading of the information system EСomGrid (Electronic Commerce Grid), www.ecomgrid.com, accessible via the BCCI’s webpage: www.bcci.bg  or via Google;
    11. Revision and update of the service packages provided to BCCI members;
    12. Overall review on the activity of the BCCI for a wider use of IT in the conditions of greater competition due to the increased needs of the companies for modern equipment and methods of operative management, including foreign trade;
    13. Optimizing the operational criteria for the BCCI’s Unified System to improve the efficiency of operation in a system – with the members, the central authorities and the local state and municipal structures and branch organisations. Improvement of the mutual exchange of information and best practices.
    14. Supporting branch organisations to establish their regional structures;
    15. Expanding the BCCI’s activity towards enhancing the awareness of the business entities of the conditions for applying with projects under EU programs , including assistance in the preparation of concrete projects;
    16. Continuing efforts to attract new members to the BCCI – competent and well-managed companies and NPOs;
    17. Expanding the assistance and the forms of cooperation with the international organisations by measured transfer of the focus towards new regions as well that are important for the long-term development of the Bulgarian economy;
    18. Creating opportunities to enhance the international contacts of the member-firms by organizing their participation in international forums at home and abroad;
    19. Expanding the participation in projects orientated towards achievements in favor of the companies;
    20. Harmonization and adequate use of the possibilities for expanding the BCCI’s services and capacity through participation in international organisations and related foreign chambers;
    21. Improving the structure of the BCCI towards more effective and efficient implementation of its objectives.