Poland's finance ministry sees 2021 deficit at 82.3 billion zlotys

WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland’s budget deficit is expected to come to 82.3 billion zlotys (16.73 billion pounds) next year, the finance ministry said on Thursday, as the country emerges from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this month the government accepted a revision to the 2020 budget that forecasts a deficit of 109.3 billion zlotys, having previously planned the first balanced budget in three decades.

“The draft 2021 budget accepted today is another stage in the plan to get back on the path of growth following the global lockdown caused by COVID-19,” Finance Minister Tadeusz Koscinski said in a statement.

The general government deficit, according to European Union methodology, will be around 12% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, falling to 6% of gross domestic product in 2021, the finance ministry said.

“Next year, we expect the vast majority of budget expenditures to be incurred from the state budget and at the moment we do not expect an increase in the COVID countermeasure fund ... it will be a continuation of what we started this year, not opening new streams,” Deputy Finance Minister Piotr Patkowski said.

Income is expected to be 403.7 billion zlotys while expenditure will be 486 billion zlotys.

Deputy Finance Minister Sebastian Skuza said the draft 2021 budget assumed income from a 5G auction of about 1.9 billion zlotys.

Skuza also said the 2021 budget did not assume that there would be income from the reform of Poland’s pension system.

Reporting by Anna Koper and Agnieszka Barteczko; Writing by Alan Charlish; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Giles Elgood and Kirsten Donovan