Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said that the consolidated Budget deficit for the full year 2019 was 1.15 billion leva, on cash basis, or one per cent of this year’s estimated gross domestic product, slightly higher than the ministry’s 1.14 billion leva forecast issued last month.
The figure represented a steep drop compared to 2018, when Bulgaria recorded a Budget surplus of 137 million leva, but the 2019 deficit was 1.3 billion leva smaller in nominal terms than the amount envisioned in the revised 2019 Budget Act.
The reason for the 2019 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 deficit of 1.04 billion leva and the EU funds recorded a deficit of 107.5 million leva. Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget in 2019 was 1.19 billion leva.
Revenue in 2019 was 44.05 billion leva, up from 39.65 billion leva last year and 0.4 per cent higher than the target set in the revised 2019 Budget Act. Tax revenues were up by 9.4 per cent compared to 2018, at 35.28 billion leva, which was also 2.1 per cent higher than the amount targeted.
Budget spending was 45.2 billion leva in 2019, up from 39.51 billion leva a year earlier, or 2.4 per cent below the target set in the revised 2019 Budget Act.
In addition to the fighter jet acquisition, 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 spending on subsidies and healthcare contributions, the ministry said.
For January 2020, the ministry forecast a Budget surplus of 841.3 million leva.
(Photo: Steve Ford/sxc.hu)