Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said that the consolidated Budget surplus for the full year 2017 was 845.2 million leva, or 0.8 per cent of this year’s estimated gross domestic product, exceeding the ministry’s 798.6 million leva forecast issued last month.
The figure represented a steep drop compared to 2016, when Bulgaria recorded a Budget surplus of 1.47 billion leva – in part, due to the higher inflow of EU funds at the start of 2016, in connection to final payments on the 2007-2013 EU budget cycle.
The 2017 Budget surplus was structurally more balanced, with the national budget recording a surplus of 309.1 million leva and an EU funds surplus of 536.1 million leva (compared to a national budget deficit of 743.1 million leva and an EU funds surplus of 2.22 billion leva in 2016.)
Compared to the targets set in the 2017 Budget Act, which included a deficit of 1.33 billion leva, Bulgaria’s consolidated fiscal programme showed an improvement of 2.18 billion leva.
Higher revenue was the main reason for the continued improvement of public finances, coupled with the reduction of government spending compared to the same period of last year, according to the Finance Ministry.
Revenue in 2017 was 35.31 billion leva, an improvement of 5.5 per cent compared to the same period of last year and 99.6 per cent of the target set in the Budget Act. Tax revenues were up by 10 per cent compared to 2016, at 29.58 billion leva, which was also 5.5 per cent higher than the amount targeted.
Budget spending was 34.47 billion leva in 2017, up from 32.49 billion leva a year earlier, or 93.7 per cent of the Budget target. In part, the increased spending was due to higher pension and health insurance payments resulting from the two pension hikes in 2017, the ministry said.
For January 2018, the ministry forecast a Budget surplus of 1.21 billion leva.
(Photo: Alessandro Paiva)