Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said that the consolidated Budget deficit for the full year 2020 was 3.53 billion leva, on cash basis, or three per cent of the estimated gross domestic product, slightly lower than the ministry’s 3.6 billion leva forecast issued last month.
The figure represented a sharp increase compared to 2019, when Bulgaria recorded a Budget deficit of 1.14 billion leva, but the 2020 deficit was 1.7 billion leva less in nominal terms than the amount envisioned in the revised 2020 Budget Act, the Finance Ministry said.
The ministry attributed the better-than-expected final deficit figures to solid Budget revenue collection and lower-than-anticipated spending.
“Despite the negative effects of the [Covid-19] pandemic on macroeconomic forecasts regarding domestic and external environments and growth, the tax and social security revenue recorded a nominal growth of 1.6 per cent compared to the pre-crisis full-year 2019,” the ministry said.
The state Budget had a deficit of 3.55 billion leva and the EU funds recorded a surplus of 19.2 million leva. Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget in 2020 was 1.3 billion leva.
Revenue in 2020 was 44.31 billion leva, up from 44.05 billion leva in 2019 and 1.9 per cent higher than the target set in the revised 2019 Budget Act. Tax revenues stood at 35.85 billion leva, which was 2.7 per cent higher than the amount targeted.
Budget spending was 47.84 billion leva in 2020, up from 45.2 billion leva a year earlier, but 1.9 per cent below the target set in the revised 2020 Budget Act.
The increased spending was due to Budget-funded measures to reduce the social and economic impact of Covid-19, including state aid to businesses, increased payments to front-line staff and the purchase of medicine and vaccines, as well as increased state pensions.
For January 2021, the ministry forecast a Budget surplus of 405 million leva.
(Photo: Pedro Moura Pinheiro/flickr.com)
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