On the last working day of the week the National Insurance Institute announced that in 2021 it had paid just over 12.1 billion BGN (or 6 billion euro) to pensioners, a 1 billion euro increase, or 20 percent more than in 2020. The increase is mostly down to the monthly bonuses of between 50 and 120 BGN that the previous three governments had paid to retirees in relation to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.
Prime Minister Petkov meets NATO, European Commission chiefs in first foreign visit
Prime Minister Kiril Petkov made his first foreign trip on Friday, arriving in Brussels to meet European Commission President Ursula von Der Leyen and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. After talks with Ms von Der Leyen, Mr Petkov spoke to journalists about his plans to expedite the Covid-19 vaccination campaign and try to open dialogue with anti-vaxxers. According to a NATO press release, Mr Petkov and Mr Stoltenberg discussed the Russian buildup of armed forces on the Ukrainian border, the situation in the Black Sea and overall relations with Moscow. Mr Petkov proposed a second bridge over the Danube river near the city of Ruse. This would be a potential strategic infrastructure of importance to NATO that could also contribute to Bulgaria reaching its target of pledging 2% of GDP towards rearmament.
Fund of Funds plans to expand its "Recovery" program by 96 million BGN
Due to popular demand, the Bulgarian Fund of Funds that manages incoming EU finances for innovation in Bulgaria, has launched a procedure to negotiate an additional resource of 96 million BGN (47 million euro) with an investment horizon until mid-2022. This was announced by Kalin Brankov, Financial Instruments Expert at the Fund and cited by Investor.bg. The "Recovery" programme seeks to address the problems caused by the global coronavirus crisis. It aims to allow banks in Bulgaria to provide new loans to businesses to overcome the effects of the pandemic. All small and medium-sized enterprises in the country can benefit from the programme.
Bulgarian firms will need 194,000 workers and specialists in 2022: Labor Agency
A survey among 4325 active companies by the Labor Agency has concluded that businesses will need about 193,792 skilled workers and specialists in various fields in the coming year. The survey revealed that most workers would be required in the hotel and restaurant business (37 percent) and in industry and administration (14.6 percent each). The firms in the regions of Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna and Burgas say they would need more cadres, while firms from Vidin, Silistra, Targovishte and Razgrad are planning to hire the lowest number of new employees. More than 108,000 skilled workers, especially dressmakers, machine operators, builders and workers in the food and beverage industry are the most sought after professionals.