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Govt to raise revenue from tobacco products, use up reserves in 2012, PM says

Interview

The government decided at Wednesday’s cabinet meeting in Sopron to substantially raise government revenue from tobacco products and to use budget reserves in the course of the year 2012, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told regional daily Kisalfold.

In an interview published on Thursday, Mr Orban said he will name the successor of development minister Tamas Fellegi next year.

The prime minister also promised a general wage hike for teachers from 2013.

The prime minister also said the government decided on the drawing up of an economic growth plan and intends to encourage lending. This latter is not an easy task as foreign banks instruct their subsidiaries to withdraw and take home their assets from Hungary, Mr Orban said.

With regard to upcoming talks with the International Monetary Fund, Mr Orban told the newspaper that Hungary’s objective is to obtain a precautionary credit agreement, which can be used if Europe’s financial turmoil continues to grow. The prime minister noted that Hungary currently has enough money to keep the country running and is able of financing itself on the market.

Explaining why he refrained from immediately approving the fiscal measures formulated at last Friday’s European Union debt summit, Mr Orban said "I resisted the endeavor seeking to commit Hungary in the course of an all-night dinner to enterprises that require parliamentary approval and, if poorly implemented, could lead to social catastrophe. This would have been adventurism. We had to gain time."

Speaking of the EU agreement, Mr Orban added "I am not saying that it cannot succeed, though it does contain the possibility of failure. Therefore we must carefully consider our connection to such a shaky edifice."

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