Bulgaria’s Cabinet plans to finalise the concession tender for the Sofia airport in the spring of 2016, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said on October 29 during a meeting with employer associations and trade unions.
Goranov attended the meeting of the advisory tripartite council, called to discuss the government’s 2016 Budget bill, which the Cabinet is due to debate at a special meeting on October 30.
In its revised three-year Budget strategy, published last week, the Finance Ministry said that it would seek a one-off payment of 600 million leva, or about 306.8 million euro, for the concession on the country’s largest airport.
“We promised [Transport Minister Ivailo] Moskovski that the priority for this one-off influx of revenue, if it comes from this concession, would be to solve the issues accumulated in recent years in the Transport Ministry, primarily as concerns railways, but not only there,” Goranov said, as quoted by the Bulgarian National Radio.
“We can look at it as an internal sector deal within the transportation system,” he said.
This would represent a major policy departure for Bulgaria, which transfers all concession revenue to the Silver Fund, a reserve set up to cover future deficits in the pension system. Reports in Bulgarian media said that the draft Budget bill will include a provision that would waive the existing requirement for concession revenue to be directed to the reserve fund.
Although this is not the first time that a possible concession on Sofia airport has been mentioned by government officials in recent months, Goranov’s remarks are the first to include a possible time frame for the deal, but it remains unclear when a concession tender would be announced.
(Sofia airport photo: Apostoloff)