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Gov't crisis management program aims to re-establish confidence

The government's program aims to manage the crisis in the short term, create balance, lay the foundation for growth and re-establish the confidence of international financers, Prime Minister Gordon Bajnai told employers and unions at a meeting of the National Interest Coordination Council (OÉT).

Bajnai asked representatives at the meeting to understand that sacrifices would be asked of everyone as part of the government's crisis management program.

The government's program aims to protect hundreds of thousands of workplaces and families, as well as tens of thousands of small businesses, from the crisis, Bajnai said. It is also a constructive program that seeks to create the conditions for Hungary to return to a path of growth and convergence after the crisis, he added.

Finance Minister Péter Oszkó said any changes to Hungary's tax system must serve to maintain the balance and help economic growth. Increasing employment and labor market participations is the most important goal, he added, noting that payroll tax in Hungary is “perhaps the highest in the world.”

Péter Pataky, who heads the National Association of Hungarian Unions (MSzOSz) said unions back the main aims of the government program, but consider it unacceptable that it causes the positions of the 1.5 million Hungarians with the lowest incomes to worsen. Maintaining the general government balance is a necessity, but the ways envisioned to achieve this create an unbearable social burden, he added.

Employers support the government's crisis management program but believe it must be implemented consistently, said deputy chairman of the Association of Employers and Industrialists (MGyOSz) Ferenc Rolek. Restoring balance can only be achieved through brave and decisive steps, he said, adding that the program is not so brave when it comes to offering incentives for economic growth.

Employers believe cutting the payroll tax by ten percentage points, instead of the planned five percentage points, would offer a real incentive to create jobs, he said. (MTI – Econews)