Bulgarian banks will take part in evaluating projects under the Competitiveness operational programme (OP) as of 2011, Deputy Economy Minister Evgeni Angelov said.
Specifically, the financial institutions will review projects of local companies seeking funds for energy efficiency schemes, which are expected to be announced in the second half of the year, Angelov added.
Before the start of accepting applications for EU financing, Bulgaria's Economy Ministry will sign a memorandum with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which will pick seven to 10 banks and also send energy efficiency experts, who will take part in the projects' assessment.
The EBRD is also expected to provide credit lines to the banks that will be engaged in the administration of the energy efficiency procedure. In turn, the funds will be disbursed to local firms to start developing their projects until obtaining the EU financing.
Under the proposed mechanism, banks will make the financial assessment of the projects, while the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency (BSMEPA) will only take care of their administrative evaluation.
According to the Ministry, the scheme would reduce the time needed for project review and also accelerate funds absorption.