Bulgarian Socialist PM Candidate Proposes Urgent Economic, Social Measures
A set of short-term measures proposed by Plamen Oresharski, candidate for Prime Minister of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), will be presented Monday at a sitting of the National Council of BSP and will be put up for debate by extra-parliamentary parties and representatives of trade unions, NGOs and the business sector.
The plan spans the first 100 days of a government formed by BSP and the party has also prepared separate one-year and four-year programs, according to reports of Sega daily.
The plan envisages measures aimed at boosting consumption, increasing benefits for certain social groups, decreasing electricity tariffs from July 1.
Under the plan, a total of BGN 1 B in delayed VAT must be urgently paid to the business sector.
The socialists also plan to increase the onetime assistance for first-graders from the current BGN 150 to BGN 310, the amount of the minimum monthly wage.
Maternity benefits during the second year of leave are to increase to BGN 310 from the current level of BGN 240.
The plan also envisages widening access to energy assistance by increasing the maximum income with which applicants are eligible to the benefits.
Despite the increased public spending, the plan does not envisage taking a loan or increasing the government debt.
There will be no possibility for increasing the minimum monthly wage by the end of 2013 and the measure is likely to be brought up for discussion at the adoption of Budget 2014.
The short-term plan of BSP also envisages eased credit conditions for loans of BGN 500 M to the business sector.
The plan stipulates eased lending standards for loans granted by the Bulgarian Development Bank to small and medium-sized enterprises.
Under the plan, businesses are to be offered more flexible regulatory, licensing and registration regimes.
BSP plans to introduce a 0% income tax rate for people receiving the monthly minimum wage in 2014.
The socialists have given up plans to introduce a higher income tax rate for people with earnings above a certain threshold.
BSP also vows to reduce the social security burden but fails to provide details about the proposal.
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No mention of how village accountant Oresharski plans to fund this bonanza, especially when just 7 days ago he was claiming "the budget deficit for the first three months of 2013 has reached BGN 800 M" and that the "country’s internal debt has grown by BGN 4 B over the course of the last four years."......