Cabinet proposes spending cuts and windfall profits tax
Finance Minister Rossitsa Velkova has proposed capping ministry spending by 10%, removing most preferential VAT charges and introducing a one-off windfall tax on companies' excess profits. The goal is to bring the deficit down to within 3% of Bulgaria's GDP.
Velkova had to give an urgent briefing after a government document was leaked to the media in which she warned that if spending is not cut and tax breaks not removed, the state budget will end up with a huge deficit of about 6-7% of GDP not only this year, but in the next few years too. This could put the country into a surplus deficit procedure, leading to an indefinite postponement of the adoption of the euro, she warned in the document.
Journalist arrested over alleged possession of antiques
Investigative journalist Ivan Atanasov, publisher of the Sakar News website in Harmanli, was arrested yesterday in relation to "a large amount of antique objects acquired through illegal archaeological excavations or purchased from treasure hunters". He was released today after a 24-hour detention by police in Haskovo.
Atanasov's detention, announced by the Ministry of Internal Affaris, took place after a search of his home carried out under conditions of "urgency" without the presence of members of the Organised Crime Directorate (GDBOP) and without a warrant. A search, once more conducted without a warrant, was subsequently also carried out on the offices of the website and newspaper published by Atanasov.
NSI: Inflation down in February
Inflation slowed to 16% in February due to weaker annual growth in food and fuel prices, NSI data shows. However, almost all economic sectors continued to register significant price growth both on a monthly and annual basis. The figures still point to persistently high inflation, and the likelihood that it will take time to return to normal levels.
Almost all groups of products and services contribute to the drop of 0.7 points compared to January, especially transport and food having the greatest effect (since they have a large weight in the consumer basket). However, this means that prices are still rising but at a slightly slower rate.