November 23 (SeeNews) - Following are some of the main stories in Bulgarian newspapers on Monday morning. SeeNews has not verified these reports and cannot vouch for their accuracy.
- The top express delivery companies operating in Bulgaria are yet to make public their position on an opportunity for a strategic partnership with Bulgarian Posts that will be created with the upcoming break-up of the country's incumbent postal carrier. A couple of weeks ago, Transport Minister Alexander Tsvetkov said the company was to be split into five subsidiaries with the state retaining a 51% stake and the remainder to be offered on a competitive basis to a private investor.
- The new excise on cigarettes adopted by the parliamentary budget policy commission will shield tobacco monopoly Bulgartabac Holding, the commission's spokeswoman said. The revised share of the ad valorem and of the specific component in the excise levy will considerably raise the sticker price of cheap cigarettes, while having less of an impact on premium brands.
- Labour productivity in Bulgaria has improved by 50% in the past ten years. The main driver of the gains, however, has a been a lag in wage growth and not the adoption of new technologies or the modernisation of industrial equipment, a joint survey conducted by the Bulgarian Industrial Association (BIA) and the Friedrich-Ebert foundation showed. In 2008, productivity in Bulgaria's industrial sector returned to its all-time record level recorded in 1988, BIA Deputy Chairman Dimitar Brankov said.
- The Bulgarian state has lost over a billion levs from transactions in which the government swapped underpriced properties from the national woodland stock for other assets, Agriculture Minister Miroslav Naydenov said, quoting a World Bank report. If the related biodiversity losses are also factored in, the damages increase to 8.0 billion levs, Naydenov said, quoting data from non-governmental organisations.
- Bulgaria will start enforcing a flat gambling tax of 12% in 2010, up from the current 10%, under amendments to the Corporate Income Tax Act approved on second reading by the parliamentary budget policy commission. The new levy, not applicable to slot machines and casino operations, is expected to raise budget revenues by 12 million levs next year.
(1 euro=1.95583 Bulgarian levs)