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of the Republic of Bulgaria
Parliament adopts at first reading the draft budget of the Social Security Fund for 2011
November 10, 2010

The National Assembly adopted the draft budget of the State Social Security Fund for 2011 with 114 votes. 43 deputies of the 157 MPs present in the plenary voted against, there were no abstentions. The draft budget extends from 9 to 12 months the preceding period on which the benefits for unemployment are calculated and to 18 months for maternity leave. The minimum daily amount of unemployment allowance is set to 7.20 levs, an increase from the present 6 levs. A differentiated minimum monthly contributory income for social security purposes according to a scale is introduced for the self - employed. Contributions will be based on their 2010 taxable income and are fixed at: BGN 420, 450, 500 and 550. The monthly contributory income for tobacco producers and farmers is set at BGN 240. The rise of the minimum social security thresholds for major economic activities and occupational groups in 2011 represents 5, 6 per cent compared with 2010. The government, which moves the bill, points out that the higher contributory levels for social security would have a positive impact on the growth of the average income in the country. The draft budget of the National Social Security Fund for 2011 sets the average monthly contributory earnings at BGN 609.86 levs marking an increase of 6.3 per cent compared to its expected level for 2010 (BGN 573.90).

MPs adopted also, at first reading, the next year's Budget of the National Health Insurance Fund. The proposed budget was supported by 120 MPs, while 44 MPs voted against. Representatives of the GERB and the Ataka party, as well as two independent members voted in favor. MPs from the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the Coalition for Bulgaria and the Blue Coalition voted against the bill. The projected total revenues and cash transfers to the Fund will amount to BGN 2,633,730,000 with the same amount of expenditures. It was explicitly stated that the budget frame of the NHIF is going to be balanced. The health insurance contribution for 2011 remains 8 percent. The Transitional and Final provisions of the NHIF 2011 draft Budget Act increase the amount of transfers and expenditures with BGN 130 million. Instead of the current BGN 1,909,432,000 the sum becomes BGN 2,039,432,000. During the debate in the plenary, the minister of health noted that in comparison with 2010, the 2011 budget does not provide much more money for the hospitals, which need of a serious reform. By contrast, more money is set out for the primary, specialized and outpatient care. He noted that the allocation for emergency outpatient care in 2011 is 14 per cent higher and that the budget is optimal. He told the lawmakers that as of 2012 the clinical paths system of financing will be changed.
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