Bulgaria’s Finance Ministry has recorded a consolidated Budget deficit of 619.4 million leva in the first three months of the year, lower than the ministry’s forecast of 656.5 million leva issued last month.

This was a sharp decline from last year, when Bulgaria recorded a Budget surplus of 1.438 billion leva in the first quarter, as well as a drop from the 24.3 million leva surplus recorded in the first two months of 2021.

For April, the ministry forecast a Budget surplus of 115.4 million leva at the end of the month.

The state Budget had a deficit of 582.3 million leva and the EU funds deficit was 37.1 million leva. Bulgaria’s contribution to the EU budget in the first quarter of 2021 was 479.3 million leva.

Revenue in January-March was 11.35 billion leva, compared to 10.98 billion leva in the same period of last year. Tax revenues were 8.83 billion leva, up from 8.58 billion leva in January-March 2020.

Budget spending was 11.97 billion leva in the first quarter, up from 9.55 billion leva in the same period of 2020. The increase was mainly due to spending on social and economic measures meant to overcome the negative effects of Covid-19, higher pensions and staff costs, the ministry said.