Bulgaria likely to end 2018 at least with balanced budget - minister
* Better revenue, delayed spending to avert budget deficit
* Public wages to be increased by 10 percent from 2019 - PM
(Adds government to discuss public wages raise on Wednesday)
SOFIA, Sept 11 (Reuters) - Bulgaria is likely to end 2018
with a balanced budget or a surplus, outperforming initial plans
for a deficit and allowing for a 10 percent increase of state
salaries next year, senior government officials said on Tuesday.
The finance ministry expects a fiscal surplus equal to 2.4
percent of annual gross domestic product from January to the end
of August, but spending usually accelerates in the final
Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said a third of the
accumulated surplus was due to better tax collection, while the
rest was a result of delayed spending, mainly on European
"Part of the planned spending will be carried out by the end
of year, part of it will not, and my expectations are that the
budget will not come out as planned, meaning that it will not
end with a deficit," he told private television channel NOVA.
The finance ministry is expected to come out with a detailed
budget plan for 2019 in October, but its spring mid-term
forecasts projected a shortfall of 0.5 percent next year and
balanced budgets for 2020 and 2021.
Goranov said the economic development for the time being
will allow for a 10 percent increase in public salaries as of
next year, delivering on a promise by the ruling centre-right
GERB party to boost incomes in the EU's poorest member state and
raise the average salary by 50 percent by 2021.
Prime Minister Boyko Borissov confirmed the plan and said
his government will discuss it on Wednesday.
"I think that from January 1 we can raise the salaries in
the public sector by 10 percent. That will push up all other
salaries," Borissov told reporters during a visit to the city of
"We will discuss it tomorrow, but our calculation allow for
it and we will do it from January 1," he said.
The announcement comes at time when inflation is
accelerating and hikes of prices of natural gas and heating are
expected in a country where electricity and heating bills in
winter eat up a big chunk of people's incomes.
The government increased the salaries of teachers and other
public servants as well as pensions in 2018.
Bulgaria ended 2017 with a surplus of 0.9 percent of GDP,
after initially planning a shortfall of 1.4 percent, prompting
some economists to say the finance ministry was lowering its
revenue projections so that it could boast it had outperformed
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by David Stamp and Ed
First Published: 2018-09-11 11:22:03
Updated 2018-09-11 13:12:52
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