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Bulgaria to increase 2019 budget deficit target to finance F-16 buy

Author Mario Tanev
Bulgaria to increase 2019 budget deficit target to finance F-16 buy Author: Lockheed Martin; License: All rights reserved.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), July 12 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's finance minister Vladislav Goranov will propose to the government on Monday to raise the deficit target in the 2019 budget to 2.0% of the projected GDP from 0.5%, in order to finance the purchase of F-16 fighter jets from the US, he said on Friday.

However, the government does not intend to change its borrowing strategy, as the fiscal reserve is at a good level and can handle the $1.2 billion (1.07 billion euro) payment for the F-16 jets, Goranov said in an interview for local Radio Focus published on the finance ministry's website.

Earlier this week, the government approved four draft agreements with the US worth a total of $1.256 billion, for the purchase of eight F-16 Block 70 fighter jets, delivery of munitions for the jets, Sidewinder AIM 9Х Block II missiles, and a multifunctional information distribution system joint tactical radio system (MIDS JTRS).

The US will deliver six single-seat F-16 jets and two two-seat aircraft primarily used for training. The purchase price will be paid in one go.

The government is also due to submit the contracts for ratification by parliament on Monday. 

Last year, Bulgaria's request for proposals for delivery of up to 16 jets to replace the ageing fleet of Russian-made combat aircraft attracted offers from the U.S., Sweden and Italy. The U.S. offered to supply new F-16 or F-18 jets, Saab offered to supply new Gripen C/D fighters, while Italy offered used Eurofighter aircraft.

($ = 0.8884 euro)