Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry said on July 31 that the consolidated Budget surplus for the first half of 2020 was 1.61 billion leva, exceeding the ministry’s forecast of 1.56 billion leva issued last month.
This was a 50 per cent drop compared to the same period of last year, when the country recorded a surplus of 3.23 billion leva.
The ministry said that the Covid-19 pandemic impacted the revenue side of the Budget due to the lockdown measures imposed in March to slow down the spread of the disease, with tax incomes lower than planned.
The ministry said that it expected the negative trend to continue in the coming months, but still forecast the Budget surplus to increase to 1.73 billion leva through the end of July.
The state Budget had a surplus of 1.1 billion leva and the EU funds surplus was 513.5 million leva. Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget for the first six months of 2020 was 688.6 million leva.
Revenue in January-June was 21.43 billion leva, a decline of about 860 million leva compared to the same period of last year. Tax revenues were down to 17.06 billion leva, compared to 17.69 billion leva in January-June 2019.
Budget spending was up to 19.82 billion leva in the first half, compared to 19.06 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.