The conversation about the derogation was normal – one goal is that no more money goes to Lukoil, the other is not to raise fuel prices for Bulgarian citizens and to have enough time to switch to non-Russian oil. This is what Finance Minister Asen Vassilev said in “Panorama”.
The decision protects both points because the export stops on January 1, and the derogation stops on March 1 – this is technically the minimum period to switch to non-Russian oil, he pointed out.
“If we stop the derogation from today for tomorrow and for three days someone has to find tankers? Tankers from the Middle East usually travel to Bulgaria for 20 days. If you say – after three days I stop imports, where exactly will the other 17 days come from?”
Asen Vassilev denied that BGN 1 billion had flowed to Russia through Lukoil.
“Lukoil” will pay BGN 400 million in tax, and the profit it realizes is BGN 600-650 million, i.e. BGN 250 million is the net profit that we do not take for the Bulgarian treasury”.
He acknowledged that governance is not stable and that since its inception it has been a difficult compromise option for Bulgaria to move forward on several key goals.
The Minister of Finance described the concerns about the budget and the fee for the transfer of Russian gas as non-innovative. That’s why we removed them – he commented – the capital program has also been reduced, which is still at record levels – BGN 10 billion.
“In this way, we keep the three percent, the budget is within the framework, and if these revenues are realized, we will make an update, to recognize these revenues and complete our capital program.”
He is adamant that revenue is being collected and sees nothing wrong with it. The only deficit is import VAT, but it is catching up. Vassilev also said when he would resign.
“I am not married to this position. If I am useful, I will continue to do my job,” he said.
Vassilev also commented on last night’s riots at the protest against BFS: “Extremely ugly scenes that showed that it is not normal for fans to throw bottles, it is also not normal for the police to beat people who have fallen to the ground.”