In a second-reading vote on July 20, Bulgarian MPs rejected a proposal by Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s GERB party to halve the threshold for cash payments to 5000 leva.
This means that the limit for cash payments remains at 10 000 leva (about 5119 euro). Past this threshold, payments must go via bank transfer. The limit applies not only to the local currency, the lev, but also to equivalent transactions in foreign currency in Bulgaria.
Tabled by GERB MP and budget committee head Menda Stoyanova, the amendment had proposed that the halving of the limit, billed as a move against the illicit economy, would take effect from January 2018.
Speaking against the proposal, Tasko Ermenkov of the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party said that the struggle against the illicit economy was not about quantities of payments but about deliberately falsified receipts and invoices.
Alexander Sabanov from the nationalist United Patriots said: “How will Granny Ivanka from the village get her 6000 leva owed in rent, when she doesn’t have a bank card or a POS?”
GERB’s Alexander Ivanov said that cutting the limit for cash payments to 5000 leva would be no bother to an ordinary person, but perhaps would worry people who were not disclosing their income.
Stoyanova, who had said earlier that she expected that her proposal would not be approved, said that the vote would show who was in favour of unfair competition and in favour of undeclared cash in the pockets of business people. Undeclared cash fed the grey economy and hit small and medium businesses, she said.
She said that she would remind those who opposed the change of this when they stood up and demanded more money for pensions, social payments, security and salaries.