Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said on October 31 that the consolidated Budget surplus for the first nine months of 2019 was 2.26 billion leva, or 1.1 per cent of this year’s estimated gross domestic product, just short of the ministry’s 1.27 billion leva forecast issued last month.
The figure represented a decline of 1.4 percentage points of GDP compared to the same period of 2018, when Bulgaria recorded a Budget surplus of 2.66 billion leva. For October, the Finance Ministry forecast a Budget surplus of 1.11 billion leva at the end of the month, the ministry said in a statement.
The sharp year-on-year drop was due mainly to the lump-sum payment to the US of $1.2 billion under international government procurement contracts to acquire eight F-16 Block 70 aircraft and related equipment and armaments.
The state Budget had a surplus of 1.2 billion leva and the EU funds recorded a surplus of 58.8 million leva. Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget for the first nine months of 2019 was 997.5 million leva.
Revenue in January-September was 32.8 billion leva, well above the 29.16 billion leva recorded during the same period of last year. Tax revenues were up by 8.8 per cent compared to the first nine months of last year, reaching 26.1 billion leva.
Budget spending was 31.53 billion leva in January-September, up from 26.5 billion leva in the same period of 2018.
In part, that was due to the F-16 acquisition, but also higher pension and health insurance payments resulting from several pension hikes in 2018 and 2019, as well as higher salaries in the education sector and the public administration, the ministry said.
(Photo: Alessandro Paiva/sxc.hu)