Gen gov't deficit near HUF 540 bln at end-Feb
Hungary's cash flow-based general government, excluding local councils, reached HUF 539.7 bln at the end of February, the Finance Ministry said in a preliminary report on Monday, according to state news wire MTI.
The ministry said the deficit was the result of "measures taken so far and pandemic expenditures".
"The resources necessary for [pandemic] defense, such as the procurement of vaccines, and for restarting the economy continue to be available in the budget," the ministry added.
The central budget had a HUF 505.5 bln deficit and the social insurance funds were HUF 47.6 bln in the red, but separate state funds had a surplus of HUF 13.4 bln at the end of February.
The deficit swelled after running a HUF 198.8 bln surplus at the end of January.
The ministry noted that payouts for European Union-supported projects came close to HUF 481 bln in January-February, while transfers from Brussels reached just HUF 128.8 bln.
Hungary's government has been pre-financing EU-supported investments for years, a practice that impacts the cash flow-based deficit, but not the accrual-based deficit calculated according to EU accounting rules.
The ministry noted that expenditures in January-February included HUF 57.4 bln for road developments, HUF 50.7 bln for competitiveness-boosting subsidies, HUF 42 bln for projects in the Modern Cities Program, HUF 38.8 bln for public transport projects and HUF 28.7 bln for the Healthy Budapest Program.
t added that spending was also impacted by the first tranche of an annual pensioners' bonus the government is reintroducing, the extension of a wage support program for businesses impacted by pandemic restrictions, and the launch of a scheme that will raise the salaries of doctors over several years.
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