Bulgaria’s consolidated budget is expected to show a surplus of BGN 1.86 B as of end-March, equivalent to 2.1% of 2016 GDP forecast, the Finance Ministry has said, citing preliminary estimates.

This will compare with budget surplus of BGN 256 M as at end-March 2015 (0.3% of GDP), the Finance Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Increased tax revenues and grants and decreased expenditure in January-March compared with the same period of 2015 are the main reasons for the rise in budget surplus, according to the ministry.

Considerable grants from the EU (BGN 783 M in March) added to increased revenue from taxes and social security contributions to make budget surplus higher, the ministry said. Part of those grants were refunds from the EU for expenditure made at the end of last year, while another part were upfront payments from EU funds for the 2014-2020 programming period.

The expected increase in budget surplus for the first quarter should be seen as a guarantee that the budget balance projected for 2016 is achievable rather than a sign of sustained improvement in budget balance, the Finance Ministry said, citing as reasons the specifics of Bulgaria’s tax payments calendar, the one-off nature of some types of budget revenues collected in the first three monts of 2016 as well as the shifting of a considerable portion of investment spending toward the second half of the year.

Revenues and grants under the 2016 consolidated budget are expected to total BGN 9.08 B as at end-March 2016, up by BGN 1.29 B from a year earlier and equal to 27.5% of the planned 2016 total.

Expenditures, including Bulgaria’s contribution into the EU budget, is estimated at BGN 7.22 B as at end-March, or 20.7% of 2016 plan. By comparison, consolidated budget spending was BGN 7.54 B as at end-March 2015.

The Finance Ministry will publish data about consolidated budget revenues and spending as at end-March 2016 at the end of April.

Source