Bulgaria’s MPs passed the 2022 Budget revision at first reading late on June 17, with 133 votes in favour and 103 opposed.
A day earlier, Parliament debated and passed the health insurance and social security budgets. The passing of the third bill in the Budget revision package was delayed by the debate and vote to dismiss Nikola Minchev as Speaker of Parliament.
As part of the Budget revision, spending would increase by 1.97 billion leva and the revenue increase is projected at 1.65 billion leva, compared to the 2022 Budget Act passed by Parliament earlier this year.
The bulk of the new spending would go towards increasing pension benefits by 10 per cent starting July 1, on top of the 60 leva monthly assistance, initially granted by earlier administration as a measure to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on pensioners.
That monthly assistance would remain as a permanent increase in retirement pensions, with the ceiling on monthly pensions also increased from 1500 leva to 2000 leva.
Also on the spending side, the revision includes an increase in the tax benefits awarded to families with children and disabled children.
As regards revenues, the bill sets reduced VAT rates of nine per cent (the regular VAT rate in Bulgaria is 20 per cent) on central heating and natural gas, zero per cent VAT rate on bread, as well as no excise duties on electricity, liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas.
Higher excise duties would be levied on cigarettes and other tobacco products, including the introduction of an excise on liquids used in e-cigarettes, the Finance Ministry said when it tabled the Budget revision.
Additionally, the bill raises the limit on new government borrowing in 2022 by three billion leva to 10.3 billion leva, with an equal increase to the total government debt ceiling to 38.5 billion leva.
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