Innovations in the implementation of Operational programs during 2016

Innovations in the implementation of Operational programs during 2016

On April 22, 2016 the Bulgarian Association of Consultants on European Programs (BAKEP) held a discussion about the implementation of the programs: Operational Program "Innovations and Competitiveness" Rural Development Program, Operational Program "Science and education for intelligent growth" and Operational Program "Development of Human Resources". The discussion was attended by representatives of the managing authorities of the programs and among the participants was a representative of "Priority Consulting". Our company is a member from nearly three years in BAKEP (Bulgarian Association of Consultants on European Programs) and through joint efforts we work to ease the conditions for applying for our customers. During the discussion they clarified changes resulting from made proposals by the consultants in the past and current year, as well as the upcoming opportunities for admission of projects.

Highlights from Operational Program "Innovations and Competitiveness" (OPIC)

Mrs. Ivelina Peneva, Chief Director of the General Directorate "European Funds for Competitiveness" at the Ministry of Economy, announced that the decision to negotiate under procedure "Improving the production capacity of Small and Medium Enterprises" by additional 141 million lev for 274 project proposals from the reserve lists will come into operation and until May 5, 2016 candidates with projects evaluated with 66 points or more will receive invitations for contracts. She specified that this additional resource depletes the funds under Priority Axis 2 "Entrepreneurship and capacity for growth of Small and Medium Enterprises" designed for low-and medium-low technology sectors and for this reason there will be no announcement of such procedures for these beneficiaries until the end of the programming period.

In the discussions it became clear that the proposals made by the consultants in February 2016 for procedure "Energy Efficiency for Small and Medium Enterprises" are partially accepted and will be implemented. Regarding the expressed concerns by the consultants if there will be the opportunity to submit projects under the procedure provided that the energy audits must be submitted to the Sustainable Energy Development Agency (SEDA) for approval, as in the past there has always been a need for corrections, the representative of the Managing Authority pointed out that SEDA has confirmed the existence of sufficient administrative capacity to prevent delays in the deadlines and not to obstruct the beneficiaries. Partially adopted are some of the proposals of the Bulgarian Association of Consultants on European Programs concerning the excessively high rates of the performance indicators when assessing the criteria for technical and financial evaluation. The procedure "Energy Efficiency for Small and Medium Enterprises" is expected to announce reception until the beginning of May 2016. The announced for public discussion procedure "Development of management capacity of Small and Medium Enterprises" is expected to be open for reception until the end of May 2016.

Highlights under the Rural Development Program (RDP)

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Food Vassil Grudev explained the approach towards solving major problems under the Rural Development Program, which emerged during the implementation of the new program. One of the popular anticipated sub-measures 6.4 "Investments in support of non-agricultural activities" will eventually be opened in 2017, during when the selection criteria will be specified. What Mr. Grudev highlighted as a solution based on analysis of project implementation so far of the previous 311 and 312 measures is that guest houses, vehicles and renewable energy sources will not be eligible for funding under the new sub - measure anymore. There may be funding for guest houses on the strategies of the Local Initiative Groups but only when it is integrated into the strategy of the respective municipality. The problems with creating artificial conditions by the beneficiaries to achieve extra points in the standings regarding prioritizing sensitive sectors under sub - measure 4.1 and 4.2 will be resolved as likely to change is the list of products from these sectors. Deputy Minister Grudev and the consultants agreed to take a number of measures to increase the publicity in the utilization of funds under the Rural Development Program, including publications of: model of the contracts for financial aid before starting the reception of applications for assistance; detailed information on all approved projects under sub-measures 4.1 and 4.2, including the names of the contractors consultants, location of the investment planned for the project activities and more. Mr. Grudev explained to the consultants that the plans for the second reception under sub - measure 4.1 "Investments in agricultural holdings" and 4.2 "Investments in processing / marketing of agricultural products" are that it will be opened with the entire remaining budget under the sub-measures, as for sub - measure 4.1 there will be a chance to finance investments for irrigation. A reception is planned for 4.1 during September or October and for 4.2 – in November. The Deputy Minister pointed out that even if there is a delay, the measures will be opened by the end on 2016.

Highlights under Operational Program “Development of Human Resources”

Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy Zornitca Rusinova presented the upcoming opportunities under Operational Program "Human Resources Development" and drew attention to the positive development of the program, by pointing out that already 53% are programmed in different schemes and operations, 100 million lev are paid and 16 million are recovered from the European Union. She announced that in May begins the information days for the announced procedure "Good and Safe Working Conditions" for which projects are accepted until June 14, 2016. The open scheme "New Workplace", which is being evaluated, enjoys great interest after the first reception had 1 695 projects that applied and 1 447 in the second period. Mrs. Rusinova explained that the results from the first period of the procedure are expected in May and from the second - in June. Regarding questions from the consultants she explained that there is no legal possibility the budget of 100 million lev to be divided into the two periods for reception or to make a general ranking of the projects.

During May for public discussion is to be announced the scheme “Training for Employees” which will give employers the opportunity to train their staff in key competencies with priority target groups – people over 54 years and people with disabilities. The budget is 50 million lev. During fall will be announced the reception under a new scheme for the programming period, scheme which is for training in special skills. It will answer the needs of separate sectors which are specific and are not covered by the professional qualification and key skills. The scheme’s budget is planned to be 50 million lev. Mrs. Rusinova pointed out that the scheme will be opened for small and large enterprises.

By the end of May the scheme “Active Participation” will start with a budget of 20 million lev and it is innovative, providing opportunity for social services and support employment for people with disabilities and their families. The scheme also helps build up the capacity of the social services. Under the scheme can apply a wide range of public participants: NGOs, employers, municipalities, professional centers and other. It is expected that the scheme for social entrepreneurship will support the existing and the creation of new social enterprises.


More news