Hungary: 2009 draft budget: cuts for ministries, construction projects – press

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The online news source Index reported on Monday, that goverment’s 2009 draft budget proposes a Ft 250 billion cut in funding for ministries, an 80% cut in funding for motorway construction and a 60% cut in funding for underground construction.

Index said that the draft budget proposes an increase in spending for local-transportation services to Ft 230 billion in 2009, compared to Ft 135 billion in 2008, as well as a 5.5-6% increase in pensions. The budget would allocate most of the funding for local-transportation services to Hungarian state-owned railway MÁV and a lesser amount to the state-owned Volán bus companies, according to the online news source.

Index reported that the draft budget does not contain total expenditure and revenue figures, including next year’s expected deficit. The government’s convergence program targets a 2009 deficit of 3.2% of GDP, which is translated to Ft 978 billion from GDP growth projection.

The draft 2009 budget proposes a reduction of around 15% in the real value of funding for all government ministries except the office of the prime minister and the foreign ministry, whose funding would decrease to a more moderate degree in real terms, Index reported. The online news source said that draft budget would require ministries to set aside Ft 80 billion as a buffer against overspending.

Index reported that the draft budget proposes allocating Ft 20 billion for motorway construction in 2009, compared to 100 billion in 2008 and 200 billion in 2007. The budget increases the amount to be paid to private companies for the operation and maintenance of motorways previously built in PPP projects from Ft 54 billion in 2008 to Ft 56 billion in 2009.

The online news source said that the draft budget proposes funding of Ft 10 billion for construction of Budapest’s fourth metro line in 2009, compared to Ft 16.2 billion in 2008. Index said that the draft budget allocates Ft 1,160-1,170 billion for interest payments on government debt in 2009, compared to an estimated Ft 1,148 billion in 2008.

The 2009 draft budget proposes spending of more than Ft 3,100 billion on old-age pensions, disability and widow support, 13th-month salaries and other forms of pensions, according to the online news source. (MTI-Econews)

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