Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said that the consolidated Budget surplus for the full year 2018 was 137 million leva, or 0.1 per cent of this year’s estimated gross domestic product, falling short of the ministry’s 163.5 million leva forecast issued last month.
The figure represented a steep drop compared to 2017, when Bulgaria recorded a Budget surplus of 845.2 million leva. This year’s Budget Act set a deficit of one per cent (1.1 billion leva), but the Finance Ministry’s updated estimates, in October 2018, envisioned a surplus of 0.5 per cent (591 million leva).
The state Budget had a surplus of 251.7 million leva and the EU funds recorded a deficit of 114.7 million leva. Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget in 2018 was 1.08 billion leva.
Revenue in 2018 was 39.65 billion leva, up from 35.31 billion leva last year and 3.7 per cent higher than the target set in the 2018 Budget Act. Tax revenues were up by 8.7 per cent compared to 2017, at 32.24 billion leva, which was also 6.5 per cent higher than the amount targeted.
Budget spending was 39.51 billion leva in 2018, up from 34.47 billion leva a year earlier, or 0.5 per cent above the Budget target. In part, the increased spending was due to higher pension and health insurance payments resulting from pension hikes, higher salaries in the education sector, as well as increased capital expenditures on infrastructure and defence, the ministry said.
For January 2019, the ministry forecast a Budget surplus of 1.1 billion leva.
(Photo: Steve Ford/sxc.hu)