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Bulgarian Cabinet Pins Budget'07 on Social Care

Date: 17.11.2006

Incomes and pensions of Bulgarians will increase at a faster pace in 2007 compared to earlier years.

A third of each BGN 1 will be spent for social care and assistance services, it emerged during the first discussion on draft budget 2007 in plenary on Thursday.

Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski defended the draft allotment of budget funds laid down in the blueprint solemnly headed "A European beginning". This will be the first budget of the country as a full-fledged member of the EU after accession next January.

In the presence of Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev, the finance minister told lawmakers the public sector will see a considerable increase - some 12% - throughout the year to reach BGN 550 (approximately EUR 225) average salary towards the end of 2007. This will increase their purchase capacity, Oresharski pointed out.

In terms of business, the exchequer plans to continue creating incentives for investments and economic growth, by decreasing profit tax from 15% to 10%. The tax cut will rank Bulgaria with the most favourable corporate tax rate among the rest of EU members, the finance minister believes.

It was decided that pensions and budget salaries will mount as of July 1. Bulgarian pensioners will start getting 8.5% more and the budget sector employees will have a pay rise of 10%. It was also decided that pensioners will be granted the maximum possible Christmas allowance this year.

Thus the minimum pension will jump from BGN 85 to BGN 93.23 and the maximum from BGN 455 to BGN 490.

The defence budget will be fuelled with 2.55% of Bulgaria's GDP.

In the end of October the first draft budget of Bulgaria as a full-fledged EU member landed in the Parliament for discussion, copied on a mini-CD.

However, members of the coalition expressed disagreement with some of the items. Simeon II National Movement insisted on more finances for the army and alleviation of the social security burden.

The predominantly ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms wanted more funds disposable for fight against natural calamities and disasters.

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