Bleak Sales, Lost Jobs Concern Bulgaria's Industrial Leaders

Bulgaria's private-sector industrial leaders are calling on their government to help rebuild manufacturing, which suffered a terrible year in 1999. Bulgarian industry is suffering from a lack financing, investment, and government policies, says Krustyo Stanilov, chairman of the Bulgarian Industrial Assn. (BIA). Industrial sales revenues fell 10.5% in 1999 from 1998, Stanilov says. The biggest falls were in commercial vehicle sales, which fell 50%, and in the textile industry, where sales fell by 27%. Revenues from industrial exports fell 13% from 1998, and 119,000 industrial workers lost their jobs in 1999 "Bulgaria took the last place in per-capita foreign investment in 1999 from all other European Union candidate-countries," Stanilov says. In 1999 foreign investment per capita in Bulgaria was $155 vs $1,652 per capita in Hungary, and $968 per capita in the Czech Republic. The BIA wants the government to plan a policy for the industrial sector that includes a steady flow of investment and the expansion of its markets.

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