Bulgaria's FinMin Vows Higher Incomes in Some Sectors in 2013
Bulgarian Finance Minister Simeon Djankov has explained that incomes in certain sectors will increase in 2013 due to the good financial results of the implementation of budget 2012.
In a Wednesday interview for Nova TV, he specified that the sectors where salaries would increase would become clear in February or March.
Djankov was adamant that maternity benefits would not increase and reiterated that more kindergartens would be opened to enable mothers to return to work as fast as possible rather than rely on compensations.
Asked if incomes of police officers would grow in a bid to reduce corruption, Djankov said that salaries in the sector were high enough and there was no reason for increases.
Bulgaria's Finance Minister made clear that salaries of doctors, army officials, and cultural workers would increase.
He further boasted that the National Revenue Agency (NRA) had collected 101% of its 2012 target and the Customs Agency had collected 103% of its 2012 mark.
He explained the good collection results with the fact that December was a strong month with a lot of holidays and a lot of shopping.
Djankov specified that the NRA and the Customs Agency had over-fulfilled their budgets by around BGN 200 M.
Bulgaria's Finance Minister also noted that the two most important matters for him were the financial health of the country and unemployment.
He suggested that one of the ways to deal with growing unemployment was through programs for the long-term unemployed.
Regarding Bulgaria's ailing arms maker VMZ Sopot, which has been plagued by protests over delayed salaries of the workers, Djankov said that the rescue of the military plant involved better financial discipline.
He pointed out that the lack of financial discipline had caused serious problems at the arms manufacturer and a number of other large state-owned companies like the Bulgarian State Railways (BDZ).
Djankov claimed that it was not a good idea for the state to own shares of companies whose output competed with private companies with much fewer workers and higher profits.
Bulgaria's Finance Minister emphasized that state presence in a large number of sectors was unnecessary, VMZ Sopot being a major case in point.
He argued that the arms manufacturer needed swift privatization rather than expectations for state intervention.
Regarding the January 27 nuclear referendum, Djankov voiced regrets that Bulgaria's first democratic referendum was held on "such a meaningless issue for society."
He suggested that the full smoking ban in indoor public places would have been a more sensible topic for a referendum.
He argued that there were much more worthwhile ways to use the sum of BGN 14 M that would be spent on the referendum.
Bulgaria's Finance Minister noted that the nuclear referendum would actually cost around BGN 20 M because there would be extra expenses.
Djankov vowed that the government would not halt reforms over the upcoming 2013 parliamentary elections, adding that the Cabinet was ready to implement demands of the business sector by the end of its term in office.
He assured that the parliamentary elections would not leave a budget hole and added that the center-right GERB government was preparing for a second and third term in office.