Bulgarian MPs approve a bill extending the provisions of the 2021 Budget Law

On January 21, the Bulgarian National Assembly voted on a bill extending the provisions of the Budget Law 2021 until March 31, 2022.

Due to three general elections in 2021 and two short-lived parliaments unable to elect a government, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s cabinet only took office on December 13 office, leaving no time to come up with a draft budget for 2022 before the end of last year.

The Bulgarian Law on Public Finances takes into account such a scenario and states that in this case the budget revenue will be collected according to the existing laws, while the expenditure will be limited to the amount allocated in the same period of the previous year, but not higher than that income collected this year.

Such an extension is permitted for up to three months, not counting the time when the National Assembly is not in session, a provision that does not apply to the current situation.

The bill passed after a lengthy debate in parliament, during which MPs from the four factions of the ruling coalition and opposition parties repeatedly exchanged accusations of delaying the 2022 Budget Law.

While Parliament was still discussing the draft law, Finance Minister Assen Vassilev held an unannounced press conference to present the draft 2022 budget law.

Vassilev said the bill is ready – it has been posted on the Treasury’s website for public consultation, with a deadline for comments by January 24 – and he expects the cabinet to approve the bill by January 31 and submit to Parliament.

Given the short time it took to draft the law, it contained only a small part of the public policy agreed during talks to form the governing coalition, Vasilev said.

The rest of those guidelines would be included in the 2022 budget law in a budget revision scheduled for “mid-year,” Vassilev told reporters.

Currently, the ministry’s draft budget envisages a deficit of 4.1 percent of gross domestic product – 2.5 percent excluding measures to reduce the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic – and 7.3 billion leva or 3.7 billion euros new government debt while targeting 4.8 percent economic growth in 2022.

(Photo: parliament.bg)

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