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COMPUTERWORLD | Articles | Market Analysis
05 Mar
2012
 
 

B. Stefanov, InvestBulgaria Agency: We want to help firms that create jobs, especially high-tech

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Foreign direct investments in Bulgaria were almost 1.065 bln euro in 2011

Mr. Stefanov, how has the investment structure in Bulgaria changed in recent years?

November and December are usually the strongest months in regard to the amount of foreign investments in Bulgaria, which is mainly due to the intensification of the financial and the trade sector around the celebrations at the end of the year.

Between 2005 and 2009, when the total worth of the investments in Bulgaria was huge, 60% to 90% of them were in the sectors of finance, trade, and real estate.

Industry, energetics, and telecommunications, as well as the rest of the most rigid sectors generate investments of about 1-1.5 bln euro annually.

In the years before 2009, the investments in finance, trade, and real estate were several billion euro. In 2010, however, the allotments in these sectors went down and this trend went on throughout 2011.

In 2012, some large industrial enterprises have to pay back to their foreign parent companies, which is strategically decreasing the sum of total investments. So, it appears as if the share of the industrial investments was tiny but in fact it is equal to the previous years.

IT is among the sectors where estimating total investments is the hardest. The data of BNB and the National Statistical Institute (NSI) accounts for long-term assets but whether these are investments is impossible to say. Computers and servers are not the largest costs for an IT firm, whereas in an industrial company the investments in machines and buildings are really major.

Maintaining the statistics is not hard for Bulgaria only, it is an issue in most countries in the world.

Do you account for the improving quality of Bulgarian exporter's services?

A lot of Bulgarian companies have started to work directly with large IT producers, like Microsoft, HP, or IBM. This undoubtedly is raising the reputation of Bulgaria and the local companies that work on foreign markets too.

On the other hand, a lot of large international enterprises have entered Bulgaria, e. g. SAP Labs, VMware, Johnson Controls, which helps to spread the word about Bulgaria over the world.

How could the Investment Promotion Act help Bulgarian IT firms?

In its current text, the law supports investments in land and in road infrastructure, which relate to sectors like production or transport and logistics, hence are not attractive for technological companies.

We want to introduce measures for the firms that create new jobs, especially in the high-tech field. Some countries offer stimuli in this sphere which include financial support in creating particular jobs. We have not adopted this approach, since there are often discrepancies between the initially announced plans and the real situation as the investments advance. One of the ideas is to reimburse employers for some of their expenses, e. g. insurances.

The Investment Promotion Act is not the only mechanism to support the development of Bulgarian companies. Announcing procedures for public tenders regarding the e-government, which are connected to IT activities, is a form of stimulus for Bulgarian technological firms.

Reimbursing expenses for innovative developments and intellectual property products with projects financed via the Operational Program “Development of the Competitiveness of the Bulgarian Economy” is also a way to support business.

The interview was lead by Konstantsa Grigorova

 

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