Parliament Votes Conclusively State Public Social Insurance Budget for Next Year
107 ECONOMY - STATE PUBLIC SOCIAL INSURANCE FUND - BUDGET - BILL
Parliament Votes Conclusively State
Public Social Insurance
Budget for Next Year
Sofia, November 28 (BTA) - The minimum contributory pension in Bulgaria will be 219.43 leva as of July 1, 2019 and all pensions will be adjusted by 5.7 per cent from the same date. This was decided by Parliament as it adopted conclusively the 2019 budget of the State Public Social Insurance Fund here on Wednesday.
The opposition Socialist party and the Movement for RIghts and Freedoms (MRF) proposed a minimum pension of 300 leva but it was voted down by the majority. The opposition slammed the power-sharing United Patriots for cheating their voters with the campaign promise for a minimum pension of 300 leva.
The minimum contributory income will be 560 leva for self-insured persons, 400 leva for farmers and tobacco growers. The maximum contributory income will be increased from 2,600 leva to 3,000 leva for all other employed persons. The MRF were against the last increase, while the Socialists even proposed a bigger increase to 3,900 leva. None was supported by the majority.
The higher contributory ceiling goes with a higher ceiling on pensions: 1,200 leva from the present 900 leva, both for old and new pensions.
The debates and voting on the State Public Social Insurance Fund budget started late on Tuesday and continued until midnight when heated exchanged flared up and the majority supported a proposal by the floor leader of the ruling GERB, Tsvetan Tsvetanov, to leave the rest of the budget for Wednesday.
The budget will be balanced with equal expenditures and revenues of a total of 11.75 billion leva each.
The pensions fund will have a deficit of 3.7 billion leva resulting from revenues of 5.13 billion and expenditures of 8.85 billion.
MRF's motion for increasing the revenue side of the budget was presented by Hassan Ademov, the Chair of the parliamentary Social Policy Committee. He argued that the revenue will overshoot the target this year - as it does every year - and having a bigger figure for the revenue side will allow an increase of pensions by 5.7 per cent from April, not July 1. He also said that many pensioners will not get a Christmas supplement or are left out of the energy allowance scheme.
The unemployment fund will have a deficit of 124 million leva resulting from revenues of 315 million leva and expenditures for social assistance and compensations of 449.6 million leva. The minimum unemployment benefit remains 9 leva and the maximum 74 leva per day.
The maternity benefits also remain unchanged at 380 leva per month for the second year of maternity leave. A motion by the Socialists to increase it to 640 leva was voted down.
The Socialists commented that the budget fails to protect the vulnerable social groups, that the 5.7 per cent pension adjustment will not change people's life and that the power-holders are showing a cynical attitude to pensioners.
While the plenary chamber was debating and voting, pensioners were protesting with demands for higher pensions outside Parliament. LI/LN