Bulgaria’s Caretaker Finance Minister: State Budget Must Be Restructured

Speaking at a regular briefing on Friday, caretaker Finance Minister Assen Vassilev said that there are serious problems in May in the budget and that money needs to be found for the business, health care and pensions.

Vassilev said that until mid-May, the previous government had approved extra spending amounting to 1,164 million leva above
what was planned in the budget. He argued that the budget should have been updated at the start of May, instead of “pulling money from various budget items” to cover needs caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Vassilev said that the work is underway on a programme for business recovery. In his words, given that currently there are
no businesses restricted by pandemic measures, a shift needs to be made from payments to previously closed businesses to work that increases business orders and activity.

The Finance Minister that the budget will be restructured to the tune of 810 million leva, adding that a large part of this
amount is capital expenditure, as well as other budget outlays. Some 0.8 per cent will be taken from each of the budgets of the
ministries and from second-level budget spending entities, he said. Vassilev also argued that “it would be wrong to dip in the
buffer set aside for epidemic measures”, although the buffer has resources. The Finance Minister also said that money was
found in the central government budget to boost employment in tourism.