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2006 budget to focus on cutting budget deficit

Cutting the public sector deficit has become a focus of budgetary policy because of the need to fulfill the Maastricht criteria by 2008 for euro zone entry and Eurostat's criticism of the methodology Hungary applied in accounting revenues and expenditures, the State Audit Office (ÁSZ) said on Friday. Posting an opinion about next year's draft budget on its website, ÁSZ said the macroeconomic path set for next year concentrates on reducing the public finance deficit and pursuing a growth-oriented economic policy. The 4% growth target set forth by the draft exceeds the central bank's forecast by just 1%, ÁSZ said. Concerning the government's deficit target of 4.7% of GDP, adjusted for allowances for pension reform, ÁSZ said that differences in accounting methodologies, including the costs of Gripen fighter aircraft purchases amounting to 0.5-0.6% of GDP, would increase the risk of overshoots.