After seven straight months of surplus, Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry reported a consolidated Budget deficit of 74.2 million leva at the end of October.
The main reason for the downturn was a delay in the payment of European Union funds under operational programmes, while the national Budget retained a surplus, the Finance Ministry said. This was also the main reason for a decrease in the fiscal reserve, which Bulgaria has to maintain under the terms of its currency board that pegs the lev to the euro, down to 6.6 billion leva.
Finance Minister Simeon Dyankov last week warned about the deficit, but said that he expected the delayed payments to be cleared by the second week of December. This month, more than any other, the issue of a surplus is particularly important, because Bulgaria’s Cabinet promised to pay out Christmas bonuses to pensioners if the Budget shows a surplus.
Consolidated Budget revenues in January-October stood at 22.1 billion leva, roughly 77 per cent of the amount targeted for the full year, including 17.8 billion leva in taxes (82.5 per cent targeted for the year). Tax revenue was up 5.1 per cent compared to the same period of 2011 and total revenue was 7.8 per cent higher.
The strongest contribution to the improved fiscal position came from higher revenue from indirect taxes, the ministry said, including 467.7 million leva more in value-added tax and 201.8 million leva more from excise duties.
The national Budget had a surplus of 403.1 million leva, offset by a European Union funds deficit of 551.2 million leva. Bulgaria has paid 682.6 million leva of its annual contribution to the EU budget already.
(Photo: Sanja Gjenero)