Mandatory pre-school education for four-year-olds was supported via amendments to the Pre-School and School Education Act adopted at first reading. 105 Members of Parliament voted in favour of the amendments, four were “against” and 52 “abstained”. In addition to extending the pre-school age range, the amendments also stipulate the way school boards of trustees exercise control and function within their respective kindergartens and schools; as well as e-learning.
The proposal for the mandatory inclusion of 4-year-olds has been backed financially. It is also supported by a 3-year programme that has been submitted for public consultation. The funds under the programme amount to BGN 210 million and are set in the state budget for this year. Funds have been allocated for the construction of 70 new kindergartens with more than 5,000 available opening, according to the report of the Education Committee.
Regarding school boards of trustees, the new amendments set an ownership control, ensuring that its revenues will remain within schools and not be redirected to the remuneration of their governing bodies, the report also noted.
The third new amendment relates to the legal regulation of e-learning. This year, it was implemented under the Measures and Actions during an Emergency Act. Experience has shown that this type of training can be used in all force majeure circumstances - flu holidays, climate or other factors that do not allow physical attendance for learning. Remote online learning may be applied to an entire class, to an entire school, and also to individual school students who, for health or other valid reasons, cannot attend school for more than 30 school days. It can also be used as an element of organisational innovation at innovative schools within relevant limits – not more than 20% of the school curriculum - the amendments suggest.
A State Enterprise “State Oil Company” was established under the Minister of Economy after MPs finally adopted amendments to the State Reserve and Wartime Stock Act after a second reading.
The “State Oil Company” cannot be privatised and insolvency proceedings cannot be opened against it. The main operating activity will be the creation, storage, safekeeping, renewal and sale of state reserves and military stocks of oil and petroleum products; the creation, storage, renewal and sale of oil and petroleum products stock; and the management, maintenance, operation and construction of oil storage facilities for storing oil and petroleum products stock.
With a formal decision of the Council of Ministers, the enterprise may establish commercial companies, including with non-cash contributions, for the purpose of carrying out commercial activities related to the management, maintenance, operation and construction of oil and petroleum storage facilities, as well as trade in alternative fuels.
Within three months of the entry in the Bulgarian Trade Register and the register of non-profit legal entities, the State Enterprise must submit a written request for licences for the management of tax warehouses to the Director of the Customs Agency. Until this licensing is finalised, the “State Reserve and Wartime Stocks” State Agency shall operate as a licensed warehouse-keeper as currently regulated.
The Agency Chairman, following a written request from the executive director of the State Oil Company, shall propose to the Council of Ministers to adopt a decision determining the type and quantity of specific stocks and their keeping period, which cannot be shorter than one year, the MPs voted. The proposal was agreed with the Minister of Energy. The released state reserves of oil and petroleum products are sold by the company following a certain procedure.
A licensed warehousekeeper is obliged to provide no less than 15 per cent of the total maximum storage capacity for energy products storage, as stated in the licence for use by persons unrelated to it, the MPs wrote. This provision shall not apply where the authorised warehousekeeper does not have sufficient storage capacity for its own energy products. A licensed warehousekeeper who unreasonably refuses to provide storage capacity usage will be punished with a pecuniary penalty ranging from BGN 500 to 2,000 and in case of repeated violation – from BGN 1,000 to 5,000.
The State Oil Company shall publish preliminary information, by product category, on the conditions and quantities of stocks it may undertake to hold, on debtors, economic operators and central stockholding entities of other EU Member States.
By the 15th day of each current month, the company shall submit information on: the emergency stocks and/or specific stocks actually created by it, listed according to their type, quantities and storage location – on its national territory in oil bases managed by it and/or in warehouses registered in the territory of other EU Member States; the emergency stocks held by it at the expense of debtors; the emergency stocks held by it at the expense of other EU Member States.