Bulgaria expects fiscal deficit of 1% of GDP for 2022

Better tax collection, increased payments by energy producers helped lower shortfall

Reuters January 01, 2023


Bulgaria expects to end 2022 with a fiscal deficit of 1.5 billion levs ($821.11 million), equal to 1.0% of economic output, outperforming a revised target of 3.4%, the finance ministry said.

Better than expected tax collection, increased payments by state energy producers and weaker capital spending have helped the Balkan country lower its fiscal shortfall this year from the 3.0% it registered in 2021.

Bulgaria, rattled by political instability, has decided to extend its 2022 budget into the new year until a new government is formed and comes up with its own fiscal plans for 2023.

The interim government has warned that increased state pensions and other social spending in the second half of 2022 amid a looming economic slowdown meant the fiscal shortfall will balloon to over 6.6% of economic output in 2023.

Weaker investment and delays in tapping European Union funds have lowered the fiscal deficit for 2022, but that spending will be transferred into 2023, increasing pressure on the budget next year, the finance ministry said in a statement. Bulgaria often loads its state spending toward the end of the year.

Fiscal reserves, held under a currency regime that pegs the lev to the euro, were 12.8 billion levs by the end of November, data showed.


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