Bulgaria's Cabinet Debates 2012 Budget DraftFinance | October 31, 2011, Monday // 10:49| views
Bulgaria’s FinMin Simeon Djankov is pictured here next to a photo of a meatless pizza, which he famously used as a metaphor for the austerity 2010 budget. Media have described budget 2012 as a meatless pizza too, but even without olives. File photo
Bulgaria's cabinet is convening Monday to debate amendments to the tax law and parameters of the 2012 draft budget.
The meeting comes on the heels of the runoff of the presidential and local elections in the country.
The law mandates for submission of the draft budget to the Parliament by November 1.
It is expected that the government will decide Monday to increase the minimum monthly wage from BGN 270 to BGN 290. The talks will also focus on when and by how much should retirement pensions be upped.
The draft budget for 2012 calls for a 1.35% deficit or BGN 1 100 M; inflation below 2% and a 2.9% economic growth. There are also plans to redirect significant funds from the security sector to education and culture.
The complete package of tax and budget policies of the cabinet of the ruling, center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria party (GERB) were discussed last Friday during an emergency meeting of the so-called Three-Way Council between the government, the trade unions, and the business.
The trade unions demand an increase of the minimum monthly wage by BGN 20 to become effective on January 1, 2012, while the business is backing the April 1 deadline, proposed by the cabinet. In addition, employers want an increase of only minimum retirement pensions while the trade unions ask for the increase of all pensions.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, said calculations for the budget possibilities for next year are still being made, pointing out the minimum wage can go up by the second quarter of 2012.
The business and the trade unions were, however, successful in convincing Djankov that the fiscal reserve must remain at the current BGN 4.5 B. Initially, the draft budget included the option for the fiscal reserve to go down to BGN 3 B, if needed.
"The fiscal reserve will stay as it was in 2011 and 2010 – BGN 4.5 B," the Minister declared.
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