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New Government Measures Announced

"We must simultaneously fight both the epidemic and its economic consequences: we must save lives and provide for the future. We must now adopt economic measures which will help us through the difficult phase which lies ahead of us," Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has announced.

The PM said the goal of their economy protection action plan is to create as many jobs as are destroyed by the virus. "We will implement this action plan in three phases. We have already progressed beyond the first phase, which included reductions in social security contributions, assistance for those paying Small Business Tax [KATA], and suspension of repayments on bank loans," he pointed out.

He added that five programs were being launched this Monday, each one of which contains a number of sub-programs. "Our first program is aimed at job preservation. As part of this, we are ready to compensate employers for some of their wage costs related to shortened working hours. This will be a specific Hungarian form of wage support. Our second program focuses on creating jobs. In this we are offering a total of around HUF 450 billion to support investment projects. Our third program is aimed at priority sectors, sectors of the national economy which we will now have to relaunch – such as tourism, the health industry, the food industry, agriculture, the construction industry, transport, the film industry and creative industries. Our fourth program centers on funding for businesses. We will provide Hungarian businesses with a total of more than HUF 2,000 billion in loans with subsidies on interest and guarantees."

As for the fifth program launched today, the 'protection program for families and pensioners', 't will reintroduce the '13th month’s pension' in four installments: in February 2021 pensioners will receive an extra week’s pension in addition to the normal amount for January. This will be repeated in 2022, 2023 and 2024.

The Prime Minister has provided no further details of the programs, as yet.

Opposition parties are not satisfied by the measures announced so far – they want those who built up great wealth through public procurement deals from Hungarian and EU funds in the past decade to contribute significantly to easing the current crisis.

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