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Bulgaria`s draft Budget 2006 pushed ahead

Date: 09.10.2005

The three ruling coalition parties have approved the draft macro-framework of Budget 2006.

Under the coalition agreement, the leaders of the three ruling parties shall approve key issues of the state governance before putting them forward to the Council of Ministers or the Parliament.

The draft provides for zero budget deficit and its priorities are pinned on social policy, reconstruction after the recent floods and European integration.

The trilateral coalition approved the proposition of Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski to relieve the social security levy with 6% to allow some BGN 600 M at the disposal of Bulgarian business. The income tax system stipulates no levy for wages up to BGN 180. The minimum salary is BGN 160.

According to Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev the measure will affect the incomes of about 400 000 Bulgarians.

The coalition also approved a pro-term rise of the excise duties on cigarettes and alcohol. Oresharski said the three parties agreed on a wages increase of over 5%.

A report of Oresharski stressed the national budget returns stand at about BGN 8 B as of the end of August, which is 15% or over BGN 1 B more in comparison to the same period last year.

The report shows that the increased credit rating of Bulgaria by the international agency Fitch Ratings has had a positive influence on the investment climate in the country. The main reason for the boosted rating is the strive of the Finance Ministry to preserve the flexible fiscal policy, keep the limits, imposed by the currency board and complete the reforms concerning Bulgaria's EU accession scheduled for Jan 1, 2007, Minister Oresharski said.

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