Bulgarian business and unions reject proposed Budget 2014 rewrite

Bulgarian private sector associations and trade unions have called for a postponement of the Budget 2014 update proposed by the caretaker cabinet’s finance ministry, strongly objecting to the envisaged exceeding of the three per cent limit of the deficit and the taking on of new debt.

This emerged at an October 1 meeting of the tripartite council on co-operation that brings together employer associations, union and the government, a meeting that had been postponed by two days to give employer bodies and unions more time to examine the proposals posted by the finance ministry on September 27.

Drafted against a background of serious shortcomings in the Budget produced by the now-departed cabinet, which included over-optimistic revenue projections and significant gaps in provisions for spending, the Budget amendments were intended by the caretaker cabinet to ready for debate by Bulgaria’s 43rd National Assembly, to be elected on October 5.

For employer associations and unions, another key problem has been the proposed provisions for large sums to stabilise the banking sector, notably in the case of Corporate Commercial Bank. Corpbank’s operations have been suspended by central Bulgarian National Bank pending, among other things, the outcome of an audit ordered by the central bank.

Business organisations and unions hold that proposals on what to do about Corpbank should await the outcome of the audit. They also want a decision on the bank to be made only when an elected government is in office.

In a joint statement ahead of the trilateral meeting, the employers and unions said that a possible rewrite of the Budget should reflect policy changes by a new parliamentary majority and government.

The employers and unions said that they wanted to see, as soon as possible, an official government report on the implementation of the Budget in the past nine months along with relevant analysis and information on the fiscal reserve and debt.

This analysis should give a detailed answer about the reasons for the failure of revenue projections and the spending of the surplus, they said.

The amendments also have run into opposition from various political parties seen as likely to be elected to the next Parliament, though it is improbable that most of them would be in government.

(Photo, of the Cabinet office in Sofia: (c) Clive Leviev-Sawyer)



The Sofia Globe staff

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