How are administrative services delivered in Bulgaria during the Coronavirus outbreak?22nd March 2020
Bulgaria declared a state of emergency on Friday 13th March, giving the government extraordinary powers. Approved in a parliamentary vote, the month-long measure (effective until 13 April 2020) should allow the Bulgarian Government to dedicate more resources to fighting the pandemic in Bulgaria. That leaves the question what administrative services are available to citizens?
How are Government administrative services delivered during this time?
The public administration remains open for business.
Government agencies, ministries and other government bodies are currently in the process of restructuring their workflows to minimise the health risk to all officials and the public.
Most bodies are proactive in finding solutions to minimise personal interaction while continuing operations.
The Covid-19 pandemic has presented itself as an opportunity to push eGovernment forward.
One good example is the Bulgarian Investment Agency which is actively promoting a little-known eDelivery service that would allow for the submission of online applications. This platform is part of the Bulgarian Government’s commitment to offering online services.
Individuals who are citizens or residents can register on the eDelivery platform. What they would need is either:
- A certified digital signature issued by а licensed local provider such as InfoNotary, B-Trust or Eurotrust; or
- A special PIN issued by the National Social Security Institute.
A certified digital signature can be obtained at most licensed Bulgarian banks as those have special agreements with the service providers to act as a point of sale. Bank branches remain open for business at present.
The PIN is issued free of charge by the National Social Security Institute if you are registered with them and requires one to simply submit an application and they are given on the spot. This PIN also allows you to access the NSSI online platform and make certain enquiries and submission of documents.
The eDelivery platform allows you to directly communicate with authorities as if you are talking to them in person. Currently there are 1188 different local and state bodies registered on the platform.
All communication is encrypted and there are a number of advantages of using the platform. It allows for the authentication of the time of sending/receipt of documents and messages by the sender/recipient. This proof can be used in a court of law as evidence and the platform guarantees the authenticity of the documents exchanged.
The platform can be used by companies and other legal entities as well following a registration process and approval by the administrators. As of March 2020 there are 194 companies (both limited liability companies and joint stock companies) registered in the system.