Bulgaria ends 2023 with 2.9% consolidated Budget deficit

Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said late on February 1 that the consolidated Budget deficit for the full year 2023, as calculated under the European system of national and regional accounts (ESA 2010), was 2.9 per cent of GDP.

The ministry said that preliminary data put the state budget deficit at 2.2 per cent of GDP, which allowed the government to allocate 1.2 billion leva in funding for municipal projects, which pushed the consolidated Budget deficit, on a cash basis, to 2.9 per cent.

Although the ministry did not say how large the deficit was in nominal terms, it said that consolidated Budget revenues came in at 67.06 billion leva and spending was 72.68 billion leva.

The resulting deficit of 5.62 billion leva was higher that the 1.35 billion leva cash deficit recorded in 2022.

The state Budget recorded a deficit of 2.8 per cent of GDP and the EU funds had a deficit of 0.1 per cent, the ministry said, without providing nominal values for either figure. It did say that Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget in 2023 was 1.85 billion leva.

Consolidated Budget revenues were 2.27 billion leva higher than in 2022, but below the target set in the Budget Act, due to the delay in receiving the second tranche of funding under the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility, which is now expected to arrive in 2024, the ministry said. That figure translates to 3.5 per cent growth compared to 2022.

Tax revenue was 52.32 billion leva, 11.8 per cent higher than the target.

Consolidated Budget spending increased by 9.9 per cent, but was 1.9 per cent short of the amount targeted in the 2023 Budget Act. The ministry said that the largest spending increases were on capital expenditures, social spending and higher salaries.

The Finance Ministry said that it expected a Budget surplus of 400 million leva in January 2024.

(Photo: Pedro Moura Pinheiro/flickr.com)

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