More evacuations from Israel
Another 57 Bulgarian citizens have been successfully evacuated from Israel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports. The Bulgarian Embassy in Tel Aviv and the Situation Center Directorate secured seats for them on a private airline flight today.
Among those brought out of the country are 29 tourists, families with small children, those located in particularly risky areas, and cases involving humanitarian need.
If the security situation permits, the possibility remains to travel Tel Aviv - Sofia with regular flights of Bulgaria Air and El Al, as well as the Haifa - Larnaca (Cyprus) ferry line, the department adds.
Minimum wage soars
The minimum wage will rise to BGN 933 from January 1, 2024, the government decided today. The benchmark will increase by 19.6%, or by BGN 153 compared to its current value. It is determined according to the provisions of the Labor Code, adopted in February. This stipulates that the minimum wage for the country for the next calendar year is set at the rate of 50 percent of the average gross wage for the last two quarters of the previous year and the first two quarters of the current year.
From January 1, 2024, the minimum hourly wage will be BGN 5.58.
At a triparty meeting held on 5 October, employers' organizations disagreed with the government's proposed new minimum wage, arguing that there should be different minimum wages in different sectors of the economy. Unions support an increase of around 20% and have even asked for it to be higher.
Big businesses demand restoration of 20% rate
One of Bulgaria's biggest industrial associations, the Association of Industrial Capital (AIKB), is demanding that the VAT rate for bread, flour, restaurants and gyms, reduced during the coronavirus, revert to its previous level of 20%, the same as for other businesses. Some sectors currently benefit from a 9% VAT rate.
"Research shows that the reduced tax rate does not lead to a reduction in the price of goods, which means that the purpose of the tax reduction was not achieved," AIKB said in its statement regarding the draft tax laws for 2024. The association claims that the measure is ineffective in limiting consumer inflation.
AIKB believes that tax rates should be returned to the levels before the COVID crisis, and those in deprived circumstances should be supported by the social assistance system.