Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said that the consolidated Budget deficit in the first 11 months of 2015 came in at 406.4 million leva, or 0.5 per cent of the forecast gross domestic product (GDP), an improvement of 1.9 percentage points of GDP compared to the same period of last year, when the consolidated Budget showed a deficit of 1.6 billion leva.
November was the first time that the Budget recorded a deficit this year, as the Cabinet embarked on a spending spree to settle payments on EU-funded projects. Bulgaria is trying to use as much as possible of its EU funds allocation for the six-year financing period that ended in 2014, which must be spent and paid for by the end of 2015. To this end, the government is using its own money to speed up payments, which will be reimbursed by the EU in the first half of 2016.
The deficit at the end of November was lower than the 457 million leva forecast by the Finance Ministry last month. For the full year, the ministry forecast a deficit of 2.29 billion leva, or 2.7 per cent of GDP, well below the EU-mandated three percent threshold that would trigger excessive deficit proceedings.
In the first 11 months of the year, the state Budget had a deficit of 82.5 million leva and the EU funds deficit was 323.9 million leva. Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget for the first seven months of 2015 was 935.8 million leva.
Consolidated Budget revenue in January-November was 29.08 billion leva, an improvement of 8.7 per cent compared to the same period of last year. Tax revenues were 22.51 billion leva, up by 7.1 per cent.
Budget spending, including Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget, was 29.48 billion leva in the first 11 months of the year, up by four per cent compared to the same period of 2014.
(Photo: Alessandro Paiva)