“The government acted well and fast in response to the crisis,“ says Viktor Tokushev, Managing Partner of Tokushev & Partners in Sofia. “The problem is, however, that the majority of the measures it enacted focus mainly on healthcare and the safety of the population, with other sectors lagging behind.“ In addition, he says, while many economic measures have been announced, not many have been actually implemented.
“On May 6," Tokushev says, "everything went back to 'normal,' more or less, with only those businesses that operate predominantly indoors, like restaurants and shopping malls, remaining closed.“ Those businesses that were hit hardest by the crisis are currently still waiting to resume their operations. “On the other hand,“ he says, “this reopening of social life as we knew it may be a bit premature and it may have been more adequate to have waited for such a strong move. Perhaps a more nuanced opening, a gradual one with constant evaluation of impacts, would have been better -- but the government decided to be more direct.“
Tokushev also says that the rules which have been enacted in respect of the state of emergency are now reflected through changes in the Healthcare Act, enacted as of May 13, which will remain relevant in the following months of transition. According to him, “the changes are rather broad and focus on the next couple of months of recovery.“ Harmonizing these amendments to work smoothly with existing legislation may be a tough challenge, he believes. “I hope that the limited time for drafting and implementation of these legal provisions does not result in a need for frequent amendments and shall provide sufficient stability for society to recover.“
In the meantime, the crisis has left Bulgaria with "fewer investments and fewer projects, which of course is reflected in all sectors of business.“ He says that “the Bulgarian Development Bank and the Fund Manager of Financial Instruments (the Fund of Funds) will be the ones implementing real economic measures and controls – they will have the most important job to do until the end of the year, translating the economic measures into reality and making them more accessible for business sector players. In order to achieve these goals, these institutions will need the support and collaborations of the commercial banks, because the banks will be the ones providing the funds to possible beneficiaries. For us as consultants working with these institutions, our priority until the end of 2020 will be providing clients with information and support for utilizing all funding available to them.“