"What is visible at first reading in this budget is that it is a lean pizza for pensioners and social spending and a very fat steak for construction companies and the military-industrial complex. We need to review it in detail," commented the co-chairman of "We continue the Change" Asen Vasilev in the program "120 minutes" on bTV in connection with the draft budget for 2023, which is being prepared by the official cabinet.
He pointed out that in the draft budget there are BGN 4 billion in unreported revenues, there are BGN 10 billion in reported expenses, of which BGN 2-3-4 billion is the social package. What are the other 6 billion used for - that is the question, comments Vassilev. According to him, what the line minister is saying is that capital expenditure and salary expenditure in the administration will increase.
When asked about the words of the Acting Minister of Finance, Rositsa Velkova, that because of social costs, it will be necessary to issue a new debt of 16 billion every year until 2025, Vassilev commented that this is not true. The planned expenses in next year's budget are 10 billion more than this year, and the entire social package this year was 2 billion for half a year, he pointed out.
We have returned to the macro framework, which was done in a wrong way for many years, he pointed out regarding the draft budget. Vasilev noted that the correction of the National Statistical Institute for GDP growth for the first and second quarters was not applied. This year, the economy grew by 5.3 percent in the first quarter, and 4.8 percent in the second, the former finance minister noted. According to him, if this is reflected in the GDP growth for this year, by the end of the year the growth will reach 4%.
Separately, the macro framework for inflation of 12.7 percent has been set, and we all know that inflation is currently much higher, commented Asen Vassilev. Only these two numbers, if they are corrected for this year and for next year, next year instead of having a GDP of 173 billion, we will have 185 billion - with 12 billion more, which means between 3 and 4 billion more tax revenues, he believes. I.e. the entire increase in pensions, social package, etc. up to 4 billion can be covered only by an increase in tax revenues without increasing the deficit, the former finance minister added.
According to Asen Vasilev, it is absolutely wrong as a policy for the minimum wage not to increase, but to remain at BGN 710. The minimum wage is an administrative measure that increases the salary in the private sector mostly, not only in the public sector, which also increases revenues, so it is net zero from a budget point of view, he commented.
The fiscal reserve is BGN 13 billion. All loans withdrawn from the official office are in an account at the BNB. Not a penny was spent. BGN 3 billion will be for repayment of old debt in March 2023. We left the revenue part with 1.6 billion more than the expenditure part. By the end of September, revenues will be 1 billion more. And next year there will be more income, but when you make a budget in which you raise the expenses by 10 billion, underestimate the income by 4 billion, you will not be able to pay the bill, Vasilev noted.