Bulgaria has become a financially stable and predictable country capable of resisting outside economic crises, Prime Minister Sergey Stanishev said here on Friday while presenting his government’s mid-term report, according to the state-run BTA news agency.
He said the country’s GDP grew by over 6% in 2005 and 2006, and 6.2% in the Q1 of 2007, mainly due to domestic consumption. The premier added that the country’s budget surplus for the H1 of 2007 is 20 billion Bulgarian leva ($14 billion), which, together with the increased corporation tax revenues, made it possible for the government to implement the largest pension increase this year - 20%. Meanwhile, the country’s industrial growth base has also expanded, making the sector becomes less susceptible to outside influences, said Stanishev.
According to the Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics office, Bulgaria has registered a 14.6% year-on-year industrial growth, the highest in the European Union (EU), comparing with 12% for Slovakia, 10% for Slovenia, 7.8% for Poland, and 2.5% for average EU standard. The premier also mentioned foreign investment in his country, saying that foreign investments totaled €4.1 billion ($5.6 billion) in 2006 and topped €2.1 billion ($2.9 billion) in the H1 of 2007.
With regard to unemployment, he said unemployment rate has steadily declined and has been under 8% for the last three months. At the end of July this year, unemployment rate stood at 7.25%, the lowest in 16 years. The prime minister also reported rises in the minimum wage, which stood at 150 leva ($104) in 2005 and is expected to reach 421 leva ($292) by the end of 2007. Meanwhile, the minimum pension grew by 49.1% in the last two years.