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Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said on April 30 that the consolidated Budget surplus for the first three months of 2020 was 1.43 billion leva, exceeding the ministry’s forecast of 1.28 billion leva issued last month.
This was a significant drop compared to the first quarter of last year, when the country recorded a surplus of 1.81 billion leva. The ministry said that the latest figures were largely unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted Bulgaria to declare a State of Emergency on March 13.
The negative impact of the “measures to fight the pandemic”, meaning the shutdown of a large section of the economy, on the revenue side of the Budget would be felt with a degree of delay, the Finance Ministry said.
For April, the ministry forecast a Budget surplus of 1.59 billion leva at the end of the month, which would represent another large drop-off compared to 2019, when the surplus through the first four months of the year was 2.7 billion leva, the ministry said.
The state Budget had a surplus of 1.06 billion leva and the EU funds surplus was 366.8 million leva at the end of March. Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget for the first three months of 2019 was 373.6 million leva.
Revenue in January-March was 10.98 billion leva, an increase of 119 million leva compared to the same period of last year. Tax revenues were slightly up at 8.58 billion leva, compared to 8.52 billion leva in January-March 2018.
Budget spending was slightly up at 9.55 billion leva in the first quarter, compared to 9.05 billion leva in the same period of 2019. Mainly, that was due to higher pension and health insurance payments resulting from the pension hikes in 2019 and increased wages in the public sector, the ministry said.
It said that additional spending on State of Emergency measures during this period was primarily on health care, namely the purchase of personal protective equipment, disinfectant and other medical equipment, the Finance Ministry said. It did not give an estimate for this spending, but said that it was covered under the budgets of individual state institutions.