Bulgaria’s PM Denied all the Concerns of his Finance MinisterPolitics | March 18, 2023, Saturday // 12:12| views
"The state of Bulgaria's finances is stable, there is no danger for the currency board, for the exchange rate of the leva to the euro, for incomes and pensions not being paid." This was announced by acting Prime Minister Galab Donev in an interview with "Nova TV". During the week, a non-public report of Finance Minister Rositsa Velkova appeared in a media outlet with a number of concerns about the state's finances, which she herself did not deny at an extraordinary briefing.
"The caretaker government is doing everything possible to make all payments on time. There is no danger of falling into a debt crisis, because the caretaker government is doing everything possible to increase tax collection, for January and February 1.3 billion BGN more were collected compared to the previous regular government," announced Donev.
During the interview, he repeatedly announced that the caretaker government with its actions protects the country from negatives that come from decisions taken before and that the attacks against its actions are due to the fact that, due to the upcoming elections, politicians are trying to write off liabilities and accumulate assets on its back.
This is a normal report
The Prime Minister reminded that it is common practice to prepare such a report before the preparation of the draft budget, which describes various scenarios of what would happen if certain measures were not taken. "This is a normal report every year and there is nothing worrisome about it. The risks are intended to show politicians if they engage in populist decisions, if they start bidding, what would happen. And that is why we have foreseen the measures that will not lead to the bankruptcy of the state," Donev said.
In the report, which is indeed regularly prepared, but without being public, there is no mention of bankruptcy. On the other hand, a number of highly negative consequences are indicated if measures are not taken. The most comments, including from the Bulgarian National Bank, were given about the warning that a change in the leva-euro exchange rate may be necessary, which means a threat to the currency board. The Minister of Finance herself announced at an extraordinary press conference during the week that there is a theoretical risk to the stability of the board.
Donev pointed out that the report nowhere mentions the bankruptcy of the state, but it admits the possibility, confirmed by the minister at a briefing, that if measures are not taken, Bulgaria may have to seek a loan from the IMF, if it cannot afford to be financed by the markets, which will demand a higher price for it.
There is no reason to change the existing exchange rate of the leva to the euro, and such statements are incompetent and irresponsible, the BNB announced in its position during the week.
The reproach of the BNB is not directed at the Ministry of Finance, at the caretaker government, but at the media coverage of this report.
The Prime Minister added that politicians are in an election campaign and it is normal for certain political forces to want to erase certain liabilities and accumulate assets on the back of the caretaker government. In response to a question, he indicated that the resignation of the Minister of Finance, Rositsa Velkova, was not on the agenda. He pointed out that she is a professional, competent minister who manages the state's finances very well.
Taxes are being collected
He defined as incompetent the statement of the co-chairman of "We Continue the Change" and former prime minister Kiril Petkov, who spoke before him in the same program about the fact that there are no uncollected revenues from VAT for 400 million BGN.
He assured that there is no tax umbrella over any company and cited the statistics according to which there are record exports from Bulgaria in 2022 and in the first months of this year it is normal for exporters to return VAT. With this, he explained the decrease in tax collection for January, but announced that there was a record collection compared to last year, when the regular cabinet was in power. According to the data cited by him, in January and February, BGN 1.3 billion more were collected compared to the same months of the previous year. The Treasury Department has not yet released the data for February. "The state's finances are stable, we managed to intervene where the politicians went wrong", concluded Donev and pointed out that the low amount of the budget deficit for 2022 of 2.9% is due to the caretaker government, and was not "bombastic", which would have resulted from the previously pursued policies. He did not explain how the cabinet got the deficit so low after inheriting and continuing these policies.
The government does not interfere in elections
The finance minister's report leaked to the media has become another occasion for the official cabinet to be criticized, not only by politicians in a campaign, for meddling in the elections.
"Both in the autumn elections and in this one now, the caretaker government very clearly stated that it will not interfere in the election campaign and we strictly observe this principle," announced Donev. "But where things are bad and there is a problem, we will not tolerate it and we will not cover it up. We will show how things are in the state, including the budget, including other practices," said the prime minister.
He emphasized that the cabinet will not tolerate lies on its back, which become assets in the election campaign. He gave an example, without naming her, the BSP leader Kornelia Ninova, who announced on social networks that at a closed meeting this week the cabinet decided to send more military aid to Ukraine.
The products in promotions are much more
To questions related to the high prices of food and the measures that the interim government announces that it is taking or plans to, Donev pointed out as a real result that there are more goods in promotion and in a bigger discount.
With the clarification that his wife is shopping, he announced that if before the chains offered 4-5 products per promotion, now they are 7-10. In addition, the discounts from the regular price are now 25-27%, which shows that there are gaps that can be selected between the delivered and the final price.
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