On Tuesday, as winter returned, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry formally suspended the tender to purchase new infantry fighting vehicles for the Bulgarian Army. The ministry announced it has sent letters informing the two companies whose offers reached the final phase of the race to build 150 armored vehicles for the purpose of a light mechanized brigade - Finnish Patria and the international conglomerate General Dynamics. It is likely that state-owned Terem company will get the tender because the ministry realized both foreign offers far exceed the government's means. In other news, the Sofia Administrative Court, in response to a lawsuit brought by the Democratic Bulgaria Coalition, ruled that there is no problem with video recording the counting of ballots during an election. But - the big question is - is there sufficient time to organize this before the upcoming vote?
Sofia mulls new lockdown as hospitals "at the edge"
Despite Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandakova's claims on Monday that Covid in the capital was under control, on Tuesday the local crisis committee started preparing for new restrictions. Local health official Dancho Penchev announced that the committee has proposed to the local administration closing shopping centers, kindergartens, fitness clubs, restaurants and schools from Friday. Meanwhile, the Covid ward in the city's St Anna Hospital reached 102 percent occupancy, despite the capacity of the infirmary being boosted by 20 percent since last week. "We are at the edge of our capabilities; we need to think of stricter measures," the director of Pirogov Hospital, Assen Baltov, told National Radio on Tuesday.
Bulgarian National Bank plans to issue new 150 million in debt
The Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) announced on Tuesday its plan to auction 300 million levs, or just over 153 million euro of 5-year Treasury bond issue due February 2026 at an auction on 22 March. Last month, the bank placed 100 million euro of bonds at a negative yield. BNB became busier on the international securities market after it was mostly active domestically during the first phase of the pandemic in 2020.
Vivacom lawsuit may stall 5G network launch in Bulgaria
The development of the 5G network in Bulgaria might be postponed by months or even years as Vivacom, the largest telecom in the country, started legal proceedings over the way the three available 3,6 GHz-spectrum licenses were assigned by the State Communication Regulation Commission (CRC). The regulator decided to allocate each of the three telecoms operating in the country - Vivacom, A1 and Telenor - one license each, but in the end Vivacom were unhappy with the band of the spectrum they were allocated. Representatives of A1 and Telenor wrote in statements on Monday evening that they will consider accepting a change to the regulator's decision if this would hasten the process, but decried Vivacom's appeal. "This is a dangerous approach, which could have very grave consequences for 5G development and economic recovery in Bulgaria," A1 said.