Hungary’s Economy Performed Well In H1

  • 19 Aug 2016 9:00 AM
Hungary’s Economy Performed Well In H1
In the first half of the year Hungary’s economy performed well, government office chief János Lázár told a regular government news conference, adding that growth had been accompanied by a continual reduction in the public debt. He said that growth in the second quarter could be attributed to government policymaking, since EU payments only kicked in after that.

Other noteworthy data came in the form of Eurostat’s figures showing that the unemployment rate fell from 11.6% in 2010 to 5.1%, resulting in the fact that 4.4 million people now pay tax on the jobs they do. He insisted that this favourable trend would persist in the next six months, too.

In the space of a year, 140,000 jobs have been created in Hungary, and 670,000 more people work in Hungary now compared with in 2010, he said.

The government is ready to examine the possibility of reducing employment contributions and it will look into whether there is a realistic chance of doing so by 2018, he said.

The VAT cut for pork has already had a tangible effect and VAT on certain basic foodstuffs and the internet will be reduced next year, he said, adding that as far as the latter is concerned there is a chance for close cooperation with the EU.

On the topic of the government’s Modern Cities scheme for directing government funds towards local infrastructure investments, he denied reports that the government was planning to scale down the programme. Responding to a question on reductions in utility fees, Lázár said there was still a chance that prices for gas and electricity would be cut if organisational streamlining proceeds at a good pace.

Hungary’s government wants to maintain the results of its utility cuts scheme and intends to continue the programme, the national development minister told business weekly Figyelő. Miklós Seszták said he saw a chance for a new round of utility cuts if the government can find a way to manage the programme more efficiently.

Seszták did not offer details on the likely extent of the price cuts, noting that it would, in part, depend on the result of the infringement procedure the European Commission launched against Hungary over an earlier utility cuts scheme last year.

The scope of the price cuts will also depend on how gas prices change, which is also an unknown at this point, the minister added. Lázár said that a new law on public procurements in line with EU directives takes into account such aspects as the environment and employment.

The lowest bid does not therefore guarantee that an investment will win the tender, he said, adding that the law is now being implemented and a related review will be carried out in the autumn.

Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.

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