The Bulgarian Finance Ministry has reassured a senior delegation of the World Bank of the country's economic prospects in the context of the Partnership Strategy between Bulgaria and the international financial institution.
Peter Harold, Director for Central Europe and the Baltic at the World Bank, was welcomed in Sofia Friday by Deputy Finance Minister Boryana Pencheva.
The two delegations' talks focused on the schedule of the Bulgaria-World Bank Parnership Strategy in light of the upcoming vote on the document by the World Bank Board of Executive Directors.
The Partnership Strategy for the next three years will stress expertise and consultative support that the World Bank will provide to Bulgaria in three major areas – policy support, absorption of EU funds, and co-financing.
"The Strategy for partnership with the World Bank is one more instrument that will help us achieve our goals that we set in the medium-run documents – the National Program for Reforms and the Convergence Program," Deputy Finance Minister Boryana Pencheva said.
She stressed that infrastructure investment – especially in transport, environment, and innovation – is of primary importance for Bulgaria, and that efforts must be invested in speeding up the absorption of EU funds in these areas as much as possible.
World Bank Director for CEB Peter Harold said Bulgaria's progress in the absorption of EU money was visible, and that the WB will help Bulgaria to go further through the Partnership Strategy.
Bulgaria's Deputy Finance Minister stressed the optimistic prospects for the country's finances, including the fact that Bulgaria has the lowest taxes in the EU, and does not intend to increase them, which should help out attract FDI.
She reaffirmed the government's forecast of 3.6% economic growth in 2011, driven primarily by the exports.
"Bulgaria's budget deficit is one of the lowest in Europe, and we expect it to be 2.5% in 2011, and to drop down to 1.5% in 2012," Pencheva told Harold.
She further presented to the World Bank experts the Financial Stability Pact, a project of the Bulgarian Finance Ministry to guarantee fiscal stability through an amendment of the Constitution, restricting budget deficit to 2%, reducing the redistribution role of the state in the economy, and preserving the low tax rates.