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Bulgaria: Money-Losing Firms To Be Fined For Raising Salaries

Sofia, 2 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister, Evgeny Bakardzhiev, says the directors of state-owned companies will be fined large sums for raising salaries at a time when the companies are losing money.

Bakardzhiev made the announcement yesterday in Sofia after a meeting with the leaders of the biggest Bulgarian trade unions. He said the cabinet will decide tomorrow on the exact size of the fines.

The announcement is in line with government efforts to cut spending to meet requirements of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Our correspondent in Sofia reports that visiting IMF representative Ann Mercuric also has publicly said the cabinet should do a better job of controlling wages paid by state-owned enterprises.

Just three days ago, new reformist Prime Minister Ivan Kostov summoned the directors of the biggest state-owned refinery to explain why wages there exceed the salary of the prime minister himself. Kostov pointed out that the refinery is losing money and owes the state budget the equivalent of $500 million.