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Bulgaria: Privatization Chief Wants Fines For Obstructors

Prague, 4 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - The new head of Bulgaria's Privatization Agency says he wants to see heavy fines imposed on regional governors and managers of state-owned companies who interfere with the privatization process.

Asen Diulgerov, who took up his post last week, told reporters in Sofia today that the agency has proposed fines of up to five million lev (about $5,300). He said the proposal should be considered by parliament as soon as possible.

Despite several privatization programs approved by parliament since 1992, about 90 percent of Bulgaria's official economy remains in state hands. More than half of state firms are loss makers, and this has strained the state budget.

International financial institutions have accused local administrators and state managers with ties to the Socialist Party (BSP) of slowing privatization in order to drain state assets. Our correspondent in Sofia reports that the BSP still controls local administrations in many towns and villages because the Socialists did well in local elections in 1995.