FinMin Reassures Bulgarians, Pledges New Minimum Wage Hike

Finance | August 10, 2011, Wednesday // 09:47|  views

Bulgaria has sound fiscal policies and the government will even be mulling upping further the minimum wage in the spring, after the planned increase this fall, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov has reassured.

"We are a stable country. We are stable financially. We have good fiscal policies and fiscal discipline. There is no reason for interest rates or for unemployment to go up. There is no reason for concern," Djankov said on the bTV channel Wednesday morning after he made a similar reassuring statement for the 24 Chasa daily earlier.

He did remind that Moody's Investors Service recently upgraded Bulgaria's government debt ratings to Baa2 with a stable outlook from Baa3.

"Many of the analysts are on a break over the summer, and that is why there is greater market turmoil. Let's wait a few days and international stock markets will calm down. There is already a small rebound in the US, and the same goes for Asia. There is no reason to worry," Djankov, a former World Bank economist and globally renowned economics scholar, said, commenting on the rebound that followed the promise of the US Federal Reserve to keep interest rates at almost zero for the next two years.

"I wouldn't buy gold right now. It is expensive, and I think its price will drop. I wouldn't convert my dollar savings into Swiss francs and other currencies, and I recommend that others shouldn't do it," he stated.

Djankov stressed that the financial situation in Bulgaria is stable but that the government needs to do more to raise the income level.

He reminded that in two weeks the Cabinet is starting to increase the retirement allowances for widows and widowers, and that as of September 1, the minimum monthly wage in Bulgaria will grow from BGN 240 to BGN 270.

"There will be a second increase of the minimum wage – in the spring of 2012. It will depend on the talks in the Council for Tripartite Cooperation (including the government, syndicates, and business sector – editor's note), and on the formation of the 2012 budge," Djankov said, breaking the news. In early 2010, he was adamantly opposed to the increase of the minimum wage but later consented.

The Finance Minister further expressed confidence that the National Revenue Agency and the Customs Agency will manage to reach their tax collection goals.

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Tags: Simeon Djankov, finance minister, inflation, unemployment, stock market, financial crisis, debt crises, debt crisis, minimum wage, minimum wages, minimum monthly wage, minimum salary, Fed


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