Ministers Manual: Infrastructure

: Ministers Manual: Infrastructure
: In expectation of Extreme Makeover

What Boyko Borissovs Cabinet ministers succeeded doing in the 100 days since the start of their mandate?

Elena Dimitrova | 02.11.2009 11:30

In the summer of 2012 you will travel to the see via the Trakia Highway”, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov promised at officially opening the connected underway between Sofias two most remote districts – Mladost and Lyulin. And shortly after he took out a construction program, envisaging the building of 65 km highways per year. In total by the end of this cabinets mandate Bulgaria should have three fully completed highways, a fourth started, 56 regional solid consumer waste depots, 120 purification stations in larger cities alone, and modern railways and a bit quicker trains. All of this passes through an extreme makeover” of the style of working with European funds and tenders organization at all – a change of not only service, but also of administrations thinking and mindset and a lot, a real lot of catching up on whats left unfulfilled so far. Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (CEDB) took a big bite with this promises, whats to do now is to wait and see if it could swallow it.


Highways, transparency, suspended projects

Regional Development – Rossen Plevneliev


I grew popular as the minister with the suspended projects and the ministry of falling prices.”

Rossen Plevneliev entered his ministry with the firm intention to turn the manner of working of the administration upside down. He promised effectiveness, efficiency, and transparency. The Agreement for Co-operation signed with international organization Transparency without Frontiers, whose experts will assist and closely monitor all tender procedures for important construction projects such as the Trakia Highway is a step in the right direction. But it is hardly a sufficient condition for effectiveness, given the heavy heritage and piecing out territories in the construction industry. The first thing he did, even before restructuring the Roads Agency, was to suspend and reduce the construction prices on 60 municipal projects, most of which already started.

The regional development minister promised he would have built three highways by the end of his mandate, and he can still meet the deadlines. Yet the repeated change of the management of restructured upon his initiative Road Infrastructure Agency (RIA) leaves a bitter taste of an intervention of the construction lobby, which Plevneliev promised to keep away of his cabinet. Not because Dimitar Ivanov was the best of the most proper candidate to head the agency, but because he was selected by CEDBs team to replace former top of the scandalous institution Yanko Yankov, and he was in fact given no time to demonstrate if he could manage handling the agencys problems and justify the confidence received. But if the one resigned over contradictions with head of the roads fund supervision under Sergey Stanishev was not the proper cadre, why did CEDB then bid on him at all? a bad selection of director of a key institution as RIA would eventually delay with another few months the initiatives for which the regional minister, and Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in person rely to start and end on time. a quick selection of a quality new management for RIA and catching up on works over infrastructure projects is the big challenge Rossen Plevneliev depends on to deliver on his promise and cut the ribbons of the promised Trakia, Lyulin, and Maritza highways. And his first trial will come with the first snow this year…


Mud, debts, and sanctions to the bone

Environment – Nona Karadzhova

The most difficult decision in my life was to accept the pos of minister. There isnt a single sphere in ecology where one thing is in order.”


The hardest field fall to former employee of the Ministry of Environment and Waters Nona Karadzhova, who CEDB pulled out of their sleeves following the principle that everyone distressed or disagreeing with the previous rule is the good choice. Its yet to be seen if this is true, for two reasons. One is the political discomfort felt by both Nona Karadzhova in the role of boss to her former boss Evdokia Maneva, and Manevs as deputy minister in the cabinet of CEDB, but member of Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB). So far, minister Karadzhova speaks exactly like Maneva when she was MP from the opposition, and Maneva as her deputy risks making some fault decision in her areas while trying to balance between the party in power and the party she is a member of. The second reason is that the slough Karadzhova is to take environment out of has turned in the last four years into an all-devouring swamp.

The environment ministry must quickly get organized and find ways to finance the waste depots construction for which Bulgaria missed all deadlines under its agreement with the EU, and the purification station for which its now clear it will also miss the deadlines. Apart from this all, Karadzhova will have to untangle the mess left by her predecessor Dzhevdet Chakarov, who has spent BGN 700 million on sewerage projects on small villages, for the completion of which BGN 400 million more is needed. And, to cope with over 400 delayed permits for concessions over natural resources and other business projects and convince Brussels to cancel 11 started penal procedures. It wont be at all easy.


One wing fly

Transport – Alexander Tzvetkov

This plane will do just fine, it is, after all, a fine Airbus plane, the seats really are from the low-cost company, yet it will fulfill its functions.”


One of the first buzz scandals after the change of the rule started with revelations of the transport minister that the state has purchased two super-expensive second hand airplanes it does not need, and, whats more – it cannot pay for. Initially Tzvetkov demanded breaking of the deal for the purchase of the two Airbus A319, but then decided to keep the one in order of avoiding forfeit for breaking the deal altogether. Then he found out the national railway company is brought to the edge of bankruptcy and took to restructuring and lay-offs, the latter in fact started by the previous top of the transport ministry. His institution also wrote amendments to the Law on Road Traffic, expected to stop the black market for driving licenses, improve the readiness of new drivers through introducing electronic examination papers and filming practical exams in study cars, as well as to eliminate corruption at technical examinations of all cars. The ideas are good, and changing the control over new drivers training and cars technical state are imperative, but they will for sure face the resistance of all involved of the well organized up to now system.



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