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Business leaders call free enterprise zones small step in right direction

Hungarian business associations believe the government's establishment of "free enterprise zones" to support employment in underdeveloped regions is a step – albeit a small one – in the right direction, business daily Napi Gazdaság said. Supporting employment is just "half of the answer", Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MKIK) deputy head Ferenc Miklossy told the paper. Support for capital expenditures and the establishment of trade houses would also be necessary to bring businesses to such regions, he added. Ferenc Dávid, chief secretary of business association VOSZ, said local cooperation in the free enterprise zones should provide clear indicators of the type of labour required as well as the necessary investments and how to implement these in a consortium. The zones, which the government is in the midst of establishing, offer the various development, employment and tax benefits to companies that invest or make hires there. Employers in the zones will enjoy a full tax break from the social contribution tax on new hires in the first two years of employment and they will pay only half of the tax in the third year. They will also get a one-off HUF 400,000 grant for each new job created, state secretary for employment affairs Sándor Czomba said earlier.