Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry has said that the consolidated Budget recorded a surplus of 257.1 million leva, or 0.3 per cent of the forecast gross domestic product (GDP), at the end of March, compared to a deficit of 105.5 million leva a month earlier.
The surplus represented an improvement of 1.4 per cent of GDP compared to the same period of 2014, when the consolidated Budget deficit was 874 million leva. The surplus was also slightly higher than the earlier forecast by the Finance Ministry, which said last month that it expected the Budget to record a surplus of 250 million leva at the end of March
This is the first time a surplus was recorded in the first quarter of the year since 2009 and the ministry said that it expected the surplus to soar past one billion leva at the end of April, based on preliminary data available.
April is traditionally a very strong month for Budget revenues because it is the month when income tax forms for the previous year are filed, giving a one-off boost to the revenue side of the Budget. Last year was an exception, however, and the monthly surplus was a paltry 9.5 million leva, which resulted in a four-month deficit of 864.5 million leva.
If the Finance Ministry’s forecast comes to pass, this year will show an improvement of 1.87 billion leva, or 2.3 per cent of GDP.
In January-March, the state Budget had a surplus of 156.2 million leva and the EU funds surplus was 100.9 million leva. Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget for the first three months of 2015 was 301.9 million leva.
Higher revenue was the main reason for the improvement, the ministry said in a statement. Revenue in the first quarter was 7.8 billion leva, an improvement of 18.6 per cent compared to the same period of last year.
Tax revenues were up 14.2 per cent compared to the first two months of last year, at 5.94 billion leva.
Budget spending was 7.54 billion leva in January-March.
(Photo: Sanja Gjenero)