Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said on March 31 that the consolidated Budget surplus for the first two months of 2020 was 1.48 billion leva, falling just short of the ministry’s forecast of 1.5 billion leva issued last month.
The figure represented a small decline compared to the same period of 2019, when Bulgaria recorded a Budget surplus of 1.51 billion leva. It also covered a period before the Covid-19 pandemic prompted Bulgaria to declare a State of Emergency on March 13.
The Finance Ministry said that it expected a lagging effect from the fiscal measures it announced to help the economy and noted that preliminary March data did not show the full impact that the pandemic would have on budget revenue and spending.
For March, the ministry forecast a Budget deficit of 205 million leva for the month, but a surplus of 1.28 billion leva for the first quarter of the year.
As of end-February, the state Budget had a surplus of 1.22 billion leva and the EU funds surplus was 259.4 million leva. Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget for the first two months of the year was 305.1 million leva.
Revenue in January-February was 7.46 billion leva, an increase of 244.1 million leva compared to the same period of last year. Tax revenues were up one per cent compared to January-February 2019, at 5.84 billion leva.
Budget spending was 5.98 billion leva in January-February, up from 5.71 billion leva in the same period of 2019, due mostly to increased capital spending, the base effect of higher pension resulting from the pension hikes in 2019, and increased staff spending, the ministry said.