September 17 (SeeNews) - Following are some of the main stories in Bulgarian newspapers on Thursday morning. SeeNews has not verified these reports and cannot vouch for their accuracy.
- The government is considering raising the penalty interest for the nonpayment or delay in payment of taxes, the daily reported quoting an unnamed government source. Currently the penalty interest is equal to the key interest rate plus ten percentage points. The cabinet is considering doubling these ten percentage points to twenty, the daily reported. The average annual amount of delayed tax payments stands at some 850 million levs.
- Bulgaria’s Customs Agency will close down 19 of its 58 offices countrywide, Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov and the head of the agency, Vanyo Tanov, said. The main reason for the closure is the low level of tax collection in these 19 offices, where some 560 are employed. This is part of the government's measures to fight corruption, raise budget revenue and cut off smuggling of fuel, cigarettes and alcohol. Last month Dyankov said that some 30% of the fuel market in Bulgaria is in the grey economy.
- Around one third of all Bulgarian companies say they are not feeling the economic crisis, a poll carried by Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry showed. Each second company says that it expects the 2010 sales revenue to fall sharply. These companies also envisage stuff cuts.
- The parliament is due to vote next week a list containing 82 government-proposed measures to cope with the crisis, the daily reported. The main purpose of the package is to attain a balanced budget by the end of the year.
- Bulgarian Internet and telecommunications company Spectrum Net will buy for between 4.0 million and 6.0 million euro local telecommunications and Internet service provider Orbitel, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom's Hungarian unit Magyar Telekom, the daily reported.
- Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov said there was a corruption scheme worth one million levs carried by the state power grid operator NEK for selling scrap from the construction site of the Belene nuclear power plant. NEK signed a contract in 2008 to sell the scrap from the site to local VDK 1 company for 110 levs per tonne, much lower than the market price of 160 levs per tonne.
- Exports of Bulgaria's textile industry fell by 20.6% on the year to 1.36 billion levs in the first half of 2009, Valeria Zhekova, head of the textile producer association said.
- Bulgaria should hold a stake of at least 34% in the Belene nuclear power project, the former head of the government's steering committee for coordination and monitoring of the Belene project, Ivan Atanasov, said. He added that this stake is needed in order for Bulgaria to have a blocking quota and to be a decision maker for the plant's operations. Atanasov said that currently the price of the project is 5.7 billion euro. This week Energy Minister Traycho Traykov said Bulgaria plans to cut to 20% its 51% stake in Belene in a bid to find a new finance structure for the project, since according to different experts the price is between 8.0 and 10.0 billion euro, up from the initially announced 4.0 billion euro.
- Iron worth some $1.0 billion is rusting at the construction site of the Belene power plant, the daily reported quoting workers at the site. The iron was left there in the 1990s when Bulgaria took the decision to stop the plant's construction.
(1 euro = 1.95583 Bulgarian levs)