Bulgaria’s Government approved the 2024 draft Budget package at a sitting on November 24 and was set to table it in Parliament, where the budget and finance committee could discuss it as early as next week.
It was the first time in three years that a draft Budget was submitted before the end of the year, as snap elections in both 2022 and 2023 got in the way of the timely passage of the Budget package.
The Finance Ministry’s Budget package targets a Budget deficit of three per cent, with a cash deficit of the consolidated fiscal programme – which includes the state Budget, local administration budgets, healthcare and pension funds – set at 2.9 per cent.
This is in line with the figures projected for this year’s Budget – a Budget deficit of three per cent and a consolidated fiscal programme deficit of 2.9 per cent. In 2022, Bulgaria had an overall Budget deficit of 2.9 per cent and a cash deficit of 0.8 per cent.
The Budget package envisions a consolidated fiscal programme with revenues of 77.6 billion leva and 83.2 billion leva in spending, with the deficit estimated at 6.2 billion leva in real terms.
By comparison, the 2023 consolidated fiscal programme is expected to reach 67.2 billion leva in total revenues and 73 billion leva in spending.
The Budget package had a number of discretionary policies on the revenue side, which balanced out, with the sole exception being the transit tax imposed on Russian natural gas, which is expected to net the Budget two billion leva in revenue. Discretionary policies on the spending side are expected to raise spending by about 545 million leva.
The economic growth target set in the Budget is 3.2 per cent, compared to two per cent projected by the European Commission in its autumn forecast.
The draft budget sets the debt ceiling at 49 billion leva, with the government allowed to issue 12.7 billion leva in new debt in 2024.
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