Hungary will add 420 billion forints (€1.19 billion) to the current funds devoted to propping up and restarting the Hungarian economy during and after the coronavirus pandemic, Finance Minister Mihály Varga announced on Wednesday.
“The government is putting 310 billion forints in non-refundable resources and 110 billion forints into zero-interest loans at the disposal of the economic protection action plan,” Varga said.
The economic protection action plan (GINOP for its Hungarian acronym), was first established by the conservative government in 2014 and has since become a permanent fixture of the country’s economic policy.
Varga said that within GINOP, 200 billion forints will be devoted to cover 75 percent of the expenses of those companies which continued to provide full wages to their employees despite working shorter hours.
An additional 30 billion forints will be available for “kurzarbeit” (German for short-time work), an expression that has made it into the Hungarian language during the pandemic. This latter amount will be a special fund for highly qualified employees such as engineers in research and development departments.
Additionally, 74 billion forints is earmarked to help companies ramp up production and improve efficiency, and 7 billion forints will be used to improve workers’ digital competencies. The 110 billion forints set aside for zero-interest loans is designed to help companies with cash flow problems.
Varga noted that these additional resources all came from the national budget and were not EU funds.
According to the latest official data, Hungary had 3,150 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 383 casualties and 10,956 in mandated home isolation.
Title image: Finance Minister Mihály Varga. (source: portfolio.hu)