Bulgaria Finance Minister Expects 2015 Budget Gap of 2.5-2.6 Pct, Lower than Planned
Bulgaria’s budget deficit for 2015 will be lower than planned, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov has said, citing preliminary estimates.
The estimates of the Ministry of Finance point to a deficit of around 2.5-2.6 percent of GDP, or 0.7-0.8 percentage points less than projected in the revised budget for the year, Goranov said at the Finance Ministry closing news conference for 2015 on Wednesday, according to a press release of the ministry.
Goranov attributed the lower-than-expected budget shortfall to improved revenue collection by the tax and customs authorities. He said that the National Revenue Agency and the Customs Agency had collected about BGN 2B more revenues this year compared to 2014.
According to Goranov, if tax and customs agencies had failed to step up revenue collection, the government would have found it hard to avoid “the worst-case scenario” of 3.3% budget gap and an infringement procedure on excessive deficit from the European Commission.
Goranov also said that the Finance Ministry MF will make substantial efforts in the coming years to make public spending more efficient.
"Unfortunately, the instruments available to the Finance Minister in this respect are very limited because expenditures are incurred by first-level spending units and, as we saw, the forced imposition of reforms without having the necessary support from the relevant systems does not always lead to the required result," Goranov said, referring to protest action of Interior Ministry employees over planned pay cuts.
The head of the Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov, said at the same news conference that collected revenues from excise duty had increased by 12% year-on-year in 2015, reaching BGN 550M.
The executive director of the National Revenue Agency Boyko Atanasov said that tax authorities had collected about BGN 1.6B more revenues this year compared to 2014 and had achieved over 80% collection rate of new liabilities within the statutory deadlines.
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