Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry replied on August 8 to the criticism of the Budget revision, handed by President Rossen Plevneliev when he vetoed the bill a day earlier, and conceded that the ministry could not improve Budget revenue collection.
Finance Minister Petar Chobanov said in a statement “despite urgent measures to raise revenue collection” taken by the Cabinet, the ministry would not be able to meet the revenue targets set in the 2013 Budget.
He did not specify what measures have been taken so far, but said that further action was need to improve revenue collection through legislative changes – that is one of the many loosely-formulated goals of the “Oresharski plan” – that would only have an impact next year.
Bulgaria’s revenue collection administration would need to collect 1.4 billion leva more in the second half of 2013, compared to the same period of 2012 (an increase of 13.7 per cent), in order to meet the current revenue target, Chobanov said.
“The data shows, categorically, that the targets set by law cannot be met and the delay in the [Budget] revision will only delay the issues without an opportunity to solve them,” he said.
On Plevneliev’s criticism that on the spending side there was no detailed breakdown of the additional expenditures, Chobanov said that the Budget revision bill clearly stipulated the main targets and that all additional spending would be approved and announced by the Cabinet.
(In his public address explaining the reasons for the veto, Plevneliev said that the bill “amends only the figure allocated to urgent and unforeseen spending” and that “the Cabinet can spend the increased amount as it sees fit”. For more on Plevneliev’s veto, read The Sofia Globe report here.)
Chobanov also re-iterated the Government’s position that increased borrowing ceiling for this year posed no risk to public finances because it would not exceed the overall public debt limit.
He said that Plevneliev used the veto “to create obstacles and delay the implementation of the Government’s programme, which seeks predictability, good faith and solidarity towards the vulnerable social groups.”
Chobanov said that “the economic logic of the reasons for the veto cannot be shared” and that the reasons were not legal but political – “an example of clear political positioning that diverges from [the President’s] function as unifier of the nation.”
(Finance Minister Petar Chobanov. Photo: minfin.bg)