Bul­gar­ian par­lia­ment passes bud­get re­vi­sion

Viet Nam News - - World -

SOFIA — Bul­garia’s par­lia­ment has adopted a last-minute bud­get re­vi­sion, rais­ing the coun­try’s deficit tar­get and debt ceil­ing in a bid to but­tress it against fis­cal trou­bles un­til snap elec­tions on Oc­to­ber 5.

The re­vised bud­get bill was passed on Tues­day de­spite fierce op­po­si­tion by the out­go­ing So­cial­ists, who scorned the changes pro­posed by their own mi­nor­ity govern­ment be­fore it re­signed last Wed­nes­day.

It was backed by 117 law­mak­ers from the right-wing op­po­si­tion GERB party and the Turk­ish mi­nor­ity MRF party out of a to­tal 178 present in the 240-seat body.

The bill was al­ready once re­jected by par­lia­ment but was put to the vote again af­ter re­ceiv­ing strong back­ing from Pres­i­dent Rosen Plevneliev last week.

The pres­i­dent jus­ti­fied the re­vi­sion as nec­es­sary to guar­an­tee the coun­try’s fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity dur­ing the pre-elec­tion po­lit­i­cal vac­uum when it will be gov­erned by a care­taker cabi­net with lim­ited func­tions.

“The only mo­tive for the re­vi­sion is strength­en­ing the fis­cal buf­fers avail­able to the care­taker govern­ment with a view to guar­an­tee­ing the fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity of the coun­try, ” out­go­ing fi­nance min­is­ter Pe­tar Chobanov told law­mak­ers.

The re­vi­sion in­creased Bul­garia’s year-end pub­lic deficit to 2.7 per cent of out­put from the pre­vi­ous tar­get of 1.8 per cent and green­lighted the is­su­ing of new debt of 3.4 bil­lion leva (US$2.4 bil­lion).

Most of the ex­tra funds were ear­marked to help the govern­ment to cope with liq­uid­ity prob­lems at Bul­garia’s fourth-largest Cor­po­rate Com­mer­cial Bank (CCB) that might see the lender go bank­rupt.

In order to en­ter into ef­fect, the bill will have to pass a sec­ond read­ing in the leg­is­la­ture – seen as a mere for­mal­ity – be­fore its planned dis­solv­ing on Au­gust 6.

The EU ’ s poor­est mem­ber state is bat­tling with mea­gre eco­nomic growth, pro­longed de­fla­tion, ris­ing un­em­ploy­ment and lower-than-planned bud­get rev­enues amid po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity that saw a sec­ond govern­ment col­lapse within less than 18 months.

Many an­a­lysts how­ever ques­tioned the need for a bud­get re­vi­sion and called the pro­pos­als for more pow­ers for the care­taker cabi­net “un­con­sti­tu­tional, “in­sist­ing that govern­ment cof­fers held enough money to last un­til the next govern­ment takes over af­ter the Oc­to­ber 5 snap vote. —

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