Bulgaria's Govt Said to Seek IMF Approval for Controversial Fund

Finance | November 7, 2013, Thursday // 12:28|  views

Bulgaria's Finance Minister Petar Chobanov. Photo by BGNES

Bulgaria's finance minister will drum support for a controversial program for regional development during the visit of IMF mission in Sofia, according to media reports.

The program for growth and development of the regions is part of next year's draft budget and envisions the allocation of BGN 500 M for a balanced development of regions across Bulgaria.

Minister Petar Chobanov will put the issue on the agenda of IMF mission visit, which will be wrapped up on November 15, Sega daily reported, citing insiders.

Chobanov has argued that the fund aims to achieve more consistent economic growth in the different regions across the country.

But experts are warning that the draft budget does not make it clear how the money will be spent.

Bulgaria's draft budget for 2014 envisions a GDP growth of 1.8% and a state debt of BGN 18 B by the end of 2014. The deficit is forecast to narrow to 1.8% of GDP from 2% in 2013 and contract more to 1.5% and 1.1% of GDP in 2015 and 2016.

The cabinet plans to allocate BGN 500 M in next year’s budget to a public investment program aimed at modernizing roads, ports, water supply systems and other infrastructure projects.

The government plans to increase pensions by 3 percent starting July 1, 2014, and estimates revenue for that year at about BGN 31 B and spending at BGN 32.4 B.

The minimum salary in the country will be increased to BGN 340 as of January 1, 2014 if the draft budget passes.

A mission of the International Monetary Fund is visiting Sofia November 6 - 15 to undertake the annual review of the Bulgarian economy, also called the Article IV Consultation.

The mission is headed by Ms. Michele Shannon, who assumed earlier this year mission chief responsibilities for Bulgaria.

This is Ms. Shannon's second visit to the country. Ms. Michele Shannon succeeded Ms. Catriona Purfield, whose term expired last year.

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Tags: Petar Chobanov, draft state budget, draft budget, state budget, finance minister, Bulgaria, IMF


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