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Government backs MinFin's proposals for 2004 budget

Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg and the ruling Simeon II National Movement have backed the finance ministry proposals for the 2004 budget, Finance Minister Milen Velchev said on Wednesday. The coalition partners will meet by the end of the week to find a solution to the discussed matters, related to the budget, Velchev added.

Velchev said that the demand of the coalition partner Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) for a 70-million lev reduction of the budgetary revenue to be covered by a decrease of the ministries' costs is only one of the possible measures. The alternative is a 25 million lev reduction in the subsidies for the Tobacco and Agriculture funds on which Velchev and MRF failed to reach an agreement on Tuesday.

Velchev plans to use the money to compensate for the decrease in the gross income tax rate for low-earning citizens, which will fall from 15% to 12%. He also decided to keep the 80% compensation of the first five days of sick leave instead of the previously planned 50%.

(NewsBase 05.xii.03)

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