Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said on December 31 that the consolidated Budget surplus for the first 11 months of 2019 was 1.3 billion leva, or 1.1 per cent of this year’s estimated gross domestic product, well over the ministry’s 1.07 billion leva forecast issued last month.
The figure represented a decline of 1.6 percentage points of GDP compared to the same period of 2018, when Bulgaria recorded a Budget surplus of 2.9 billion leva.
For the full year 2019, the ministry forecast a Budget deficit of 1.14 billion leva at the end of December. The reason for that expected deficit and the sharp year-on-year drop was due mainly to the lump-sum payment to the US of $1.2 billion, made in the summer, 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 1.64 billion leva, while the EU funds recorded a deficit of 339.8 million leva. Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget for the first 11 months of 2019 was 1.14 billion leva.
Revenue in January-November was 39.85 billion leva, well above the 35.81 billion leva recorded during the same period of last year. Tax revenues were up by 9.3 per cent compared to the first 11 months of last year, reaching 31.99 billion leva.
Budget spending was 38.55 billion leva in January-November, up from 32.91 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)