The Pension reform advisory council to the minister of labor and social policy came out with unconvincing proposals for minimal reforms which will not solve the long-term problems of the Bulgarian pension system. Even these inadequate changes in the pension system will not happen, as the Ministry declared temporary pension reform freeze which we fear will become a permanent one.
"Economic Policy Review" Bulletin ISSN 1313 - 0544
We would like to pay attention to the latest data on employment and salaries in the late 2009, which shows some disturbing public sector tendencies, especially in the public administration.
The last tourism data published by the national statistics have shown the consecutive positive sign for Bulgarian economic recovery. After the positive export growth in November and December 2009, the foreign tourists' number in Bulgaria for January has also increased seriously since last year.
While waiting for the express assessment of the National Statistics Institute for GDP growth for the fourth quarter of 2009, more and more organizations and independent analysts update their forecasts about economic growth for Bulgaria for 2009 and 2010.
Recently the French President Nikolas Sarkozy gave his introductory speech at the forum in the Swiss town of Davos. The speech was assessed with different epithets such as „a key one", „revolutionary" and „the most socialist speech by a center-right president".
The budget implementation data for 2009 published at the end of last week shows consolidated program annual deficit of 529.5 million leva or 0.8% of the GDP forecast. On the one hand the deficit coincides with the recent government budget statement of no more than 500 million leva deficit for the year. On the other hand, the forecast used for the 2010 budget adopted in December 2009 was for a balanced 2009 budget.
This week something unexpected and frankly said reckless happened. The government decided to increase the health insurance contribution with 2% since April this year. The cause for this move is the insufficient insurance revenue and the official reason was the national general practitioners' strike. The next year planned rise is moved forward during a started budget year thus making a precedent.
A year and a half ago the former parliament passed a new legislation about the only Bulgarian state bank (The Bulgarian Development Bank Act) and provided 500 mln. leva from the fiscal reserve. The idea was to provide loans to small and medium enterprises through credit lines so that they can cope better in times of crisis.
Greece has not been extremely successful for the last few months - the 2010 budget deficit is expected to exceed 4 times the maximum allowed by the Maastricht Treaty and the economy to shrink for a second consecutive year in 2010. Besides that, the constant strike activities in the private and public sector are going to increase even more the expected negative growth as they have not been taken into account.