January-April Budget Surplus Totals 2,700 Million Leva

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January-April Budget Surplus Totals 2,700 Million Leva

The budget surplus for January-April totals 2,704,600,000 leva, Finance Minister Plamen Oresharski said Wednesday, presenting the implementation of the consolidated fiscal program as at April 30, 2008 to the Public Sector Financing Sub-committee of the parliamentary Budgetary and Financial Committee.

Oresharski said that the reserves accumulated so far as budget revenue are due to "lagging behind of expenditure, rather than to gross over-implementation of revenue".

The Finance Minister said that 602.3 million leva of the budget surplus are pre-financing under the operational programs which will be spent by the end of the year, BTA reported.

Oresharski said that the reduction of the tax and social security burden by three per cent had a positive impact on the fiscal policy. He said that the government's idea to reduce social security payments by small percentages did not result in lower budget revenue and at the same time had a favorable effect on the business and investment climate.

Revenues in January-April totaled 9,616,000,000 leva. The target for revenue from corporate taxes is half implemented. The growth of revenue from corporate taxes, observed in recent years, is attributed to the reduction of the corporate tax rate to 10 per cent and the increase of corporate profit, among other factors.

A third of the revenue target from income tax of natural persons and social security has been implemented as at the end of April.

Indirect taxes account for about half of tax revenue as a result of the overall shifting the tax burden from direct to indirect taxes. Indirect tax revenue in January-April accounts for 30.6 per cent of the annual target.

Commenting the resignation of the Director of the Customs Agency, Assen Assenov, and two of his deputies, Oresharski said Assenov's motives for it were purely personal: fatigue and tension. The Finance Minister said he values highly the work of the Customs Agency and its current headAssenov.

Taking a reporter's question, Oresharski said that the fiscal measures to cope with inflation in Bulgaria are the planned budget surplus and streamlining the state-financed sectors, for example, by 12 per cent staff reductions. Also, the central bank has increased the mandatory minimum reserves held by commercial banks from 8 per cent to 12 per cent. The Finance Minister said that no other extraordinary measures are planned to cope with inflation which he expects to slow down in the summer, provided there are no unforeseen external shocks. Oresharski described as worrying the growth of oil prices but said this is something beyond anyone's control.

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