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Bulgaria Govt Votes Conclusively for Budget 2010

Date: 29.10.2009

Bulgaria's new center-right government will vote conclusively on Wednesday the draft budget for next year, which should be tabled in parliament by the end of October.

Finance Minister Simeon Djankov has repeatedly expressed confidence that the government will run a balanced budget next year and safeguard its currency board regime.

The government has set a fiscal deficit at BGN 465.7 M or 0.7% of GDP next year but has said it will target a zero gap in a bid to speed up euro zone entry. It put aside a reserve of BGN 406 M in the budget, which would be spent only if unforeseen needs occurred.

The budget draft put spending at BGN 25.8 B and revenues at BGN 26.1 B, well below the initial 2009 budget plans.

The government expects the economy to shrink by 2 % next year after contracting by 6,3 % in 2009.

Foreign investments, which collapsed this year from BGN 6,5 B to BGN 3 B, have been penciled in at BGN 3,3 B.

Excise duties on cigarettes will be raised 43 % next year in a bid to curb smoking, relieve the health care system and redirect more money to it.

The tax policy is kept unchanged.

The budget will be reviewed once again in the middle of 2010, when the economic parameters of the country and the spending side of the budget will be clear.

According to Djankov should the parliament approve the balanced budget, the planned 10% buffer will not be used.

Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has assured that the government has reached consensus on next years' budget and has blamed the previous Socialist-led government of bleeding white the state treasury.

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