If I do my job well, everyone will be equally dissatisfied. “This is what Asen Vassilev said in an interview with BNT 8 years ago, when he was acting Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism. by President Rosen Plevneliev caretaker government led by Marin Raykov.
The Harvard alumnus commented on the prepared regulation of the energy market. Then, as an outsider, he was amazed that the country produced more electricity than it needed, and yet it was terribly expensive. He concludes that this is because the sector is governed politically, not by economic logic. Eight years later, the situation is still the same, although energy has been the main focus of his requests as a minister for reforms that cannot be implemented in the life of an official cabinet. Now he takes over the finances.
In the spring of 2013, Asen Vassilev tried to throw a stone in the swamp of his three departments.
One of his first tasks as head of the mega-ministry was to make personnel changes, with 23 people from 13 state-owned companies resigning, and some of the incumbent deputy ministers narrowly escaped, protected by industry leaders, and their activities began to be watched. under a magnifying glass.
Reserves were found in the state energy companies not to raise the price of electricity, Turkey was offered to buy the excess electricity for the local market and to speed up the joint projects. He asked the Minister of Regional Development for a list of illegal sites in Sunny Beach, and the state company in the resort contacted the Prosecutor General about them.
“We have a great chance to rewrite the rules in the energy sector,” Vassilev said in an interview with Capital during his term, and subsequent developments in the sector have shown that the political arguments under his rule remain leading to the successors to the post.
At the beginning of the coronavirus crisis together with his Harvard colleague Kiril Petkov develop a planto address an urgent issue – how not to stop the business with all the consequences of this, while the health authorities are trying to control the epidemic. Because the plan, although based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization, remains for a short time only in the light of the media spotlight, as it is out of political style and conjuncture. It provided for mass regular testing of employees so as not to stop businesses.
“Either the government expects a very severe COVID crisis and a very severe global economic recession and is trying to take on debt as a precaution before closing capital markets, or it is expected to halt some of the flows that finance the budget.” Asen Vassilev commented on this in his most recent television appearance since the autumn of last year in front of BTV.
His assumptions are based on the information about the new debt assumed by Bulgaria for BGN 5 billion in the form of two issues – 10- and 30-year bonds. He then commented that the government did not explain what it would use the money for, which he said could build the Hemus highway twice. His conclusion at the time was that the government had a huge resource – tax revenues, EU funds, debt, and the question was whether they would not be used to implement economically unjustified projects such as the Belene NPP.
Vassilev takes over, albeit briefly, the country’s finances, for which he may also have to think about how to supplement the debt by infecting extraordinary payments in a pandemic.
Asen Vassilev graduated in economics from Harvard and specialized in business administration and law at Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School. He is also the co-founder of Everbread, one of the world’s five airline ticket pricing companies, partly funded by Singapore’s National Research Foundation and Skype’s first investor.
He is a co-founder and director of the Center for Economic Strategies and Competitiveness. He is a lecturer in the program for economic growth and development in cooperation with Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski” and with the Center for Strategies and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School.
From 1999 to 2004 he worked as a consultant for Monitor Group in the USA, Canada, Europe and South Africa. He manages marketing and strategic development projects for large international companies in the telecommunications industry, energy, mining, insurance industry and in a number of major consumer goods manufacturers.