Friday was the last work day of the 47th Bulgarian National Assembly, which concluded its work with a populist vote for a total ban on the sale of nitrous oxide after many media reports of young people abusing the substance in recent weeks. In other news:
PM Petkov announces yet another delay to the launch of the Bulgaria-Greece gas interconnector
Outgoing Prime Minister Kiril Petkov announced a further delay of the launch of the gas interconnection with Greece due to the slow process of issuing the necessary construction certificate (known as Act 16 in Bulgarian law) that allows the exploitation of the constructed facility. Petkov said that he expects the process to be completed before the end of August. The announcement comes three weeks after Mr Petkov and his Greek counterpart Kyriakos Mitsotakis participated in the official ceremony marking the completion of the construction of the gas link near Komotini, in northern Greece, on 8 July. After the ceremony, it was stated that the certification process was close to completion and in the meantime the testing of the pipeline could start. Mr Petkov also blamed previous GERB governments for the delay in the launch of the interconnector. According to him, they worked "entirely in the interests of Gazprom" and hampered its construction.
Construction contracts can be adjusted to inflation, Parliament decides
On Friday Parliament voted changes to the Public Procurement Act that allow the indexation of prices in already signed procurement contracts between the state and private companies in case of high inflation. This will be done according to a special methodology to be approved by the government. Unprecedentedly, the MPs passed the bill at both first and second reading in one day, as it was their last workday before the summer recess. The indexation of the contracts concluded with the state was demanded mainly by construction companies, which complain that over the past year the prices of materials have jumped by more than 20 percent, with some of them peaking with up to 40 percent, alongside the increase in fuel prices, which hit the sector additionally. The lack of a solution to these issues was one of the reasons for the recent protests of road construction companies.
Industrial production prices rise by record-high 41% y/y in June: NSI
The increase of prices in the production and distribution of electricity, heat and gas in June contributed to a record-high 41.4 percent rise of the overall producer price index compared to the same month of 2021, the National Statistical Institute (NSI) said on Friday. In comparison, the year-on-year increase of the index in May was 38.2 percent after a 40.2 percent rise in April. The latest NSI data show that the highest degrees of price growth were registered in several key sectors, namely in the production and distribution of electricity, heat and gas - by 83.2 percent, manufacturing - by 29.9 percent, and mining - by 18.7 percent.