Upbeat FiMin Says Bulgaria Heads for Crisis Exit
A day after Bulgaria's center-right government approved an austerity plan to narrow the budget deficit and avoid currency pressure, the finance minister expressed confidence that the country will successfully exit the crisis.
“The previous cabinets worked only for themselves and their own interests. Now Bulgaria has a government, which works for the people. I am very optimistic that in the months and years ahead Bulgaria will become a much richer state,” Minister Simeon Djankov told the morning broadcast of the private bTV channel on Thursday.
Among the government's successes he singled out improvement in the collection of alcohol and cigarettes excise duties, reimbursements of value-added tax (VAT) to businesses and stabilization in the jobless rate.
Djankov pointed out that the austerity package, approved after weeks of indecision, would help fill a potential gap of BGN 1.6 B, which is more than enough.
“If the measures fail to bring the expected results later this year and it turns out that we have to pay BGN 2 B, we will be forced to take other steps,” the minister specified, adding that this could include an initial plan to temporarily raise value added tax by 2 percentage points to 22 percent.
The approved anti-crisis measures, which include higher spending for social payments to the poor, compensation for the unemployed and jobs creation, will pour about BGN 300 M into the budget of the social ministry, Djankov pointed out.
According to him this will give opportunity for thousands of Bulgarians to find a job.
The set of sixty measures, debated with trade unions and businesses for over a month, have a wide range and aim to cut spending and boost revenues. Their capacity for success however has been seriously questioned by analysts.
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