Viktor Orban: Economic protection plan to be followed by economic recovery plan
The economic protection plan, introduced mitigate the effects of the coronavirus epidemic achieved its goal, which was the retention of jobs. The result is that as many people were employed lasd December as before the pandemic, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said at the Economic Year Opening Forum at the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK). The prime minister also announced an element of the new action plan to restart the economy.
The Hungarian government had had high hopes for 2020, but the epidemic forced a stance of defense on the economy, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in the opening of his speech. The crisis was not able to topple the Hungarian economy, because it stands on a strong foundation, but it has “undeniably bound our hands and dealt a massive blow,” causing a deceleration, the prime minister explained. He stressed, however, that parts of the economy were performing well despite the crisis, and that the economic protection plan had achieved its goal.
Among the elements of the economic protection plan, he highlighted the credit deferral measure, which enabled the equivalent of over 8.43 million euros to remain in the pockets of Hungarian families and entrepreneurs. Additional helpful measures included wage subsidies, tax cuts and exemptions, investment subsidies and low interest loans.
The stability of the economy is clearly visible in employment figures. In December 2020, this number was the same in Hungary as in the previous year, which in itself shows that “the defence strategy” achieved its primary goal – that being to maintain employment levels. More than 4.5 million Hungarians are currently working, Viktor Orban pointed out.
He added that even in times of crisis, the great temptation had been resisted for Hungary to return to an economy based on financial aid.
The main task of the next period will be restarting the economy. PM Orban pointed out that during the period of crisis response, the public survey called national consultation provided valuable insight into Hungarians opinion of the coronavirus defence. The government will launch the next online national consultation in mid-February, seeking people s opinion concerning issues related to Hungary s reopening.
The action plan for restarting the economy consists of three phases. The first phase began on 1 January, with several measures already implemented. These include lower VAT on home construction, a home renovation subsidy scheme, and the first phase of the re-introduction of a 13th-month pension. The prime minister highlighted that as of 1 January 2022, young people under the age of 25 will be exempted from paying personal income tax.
Viktor Orban announced that the government has decided to launch a new loan scheme as part of the first phase of the economic recovery action plan. The scheme aims to help small and medium-size businesses in distress due to the coronavirus by offering interest-free loans up to 10 million forints (28 thousand euros) for ten years, with the repayment period starting only after three years.
The second phase of the plan for restarting the economy will commence in April, which will include 1,500 billion forints (more than 4 billion euros) for the development of universities.
The third phase lasting from July to October will mainly focus on green energy, circular economy, and the full digitisation of the Hungarian economy. As regards these issues, Hungary will be a strong ally of the European Union, the Hungarian premier noted. Presenting the agricultural and rural development strategy for the next 8 to 10 years will also be of key importance in the third phase, PM Orban said.