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HUF 1,000bn funding to be channeled to SMEs by 2013

The government's aim with the New Szechenyi Plan is to forward national and EU funding to micro, small and medium-sized Hungarian businesses quickly, efficiently and in a coordinated way, National Development Minister Tamas Fellegi said on Friday. The intention is to provide SMEs with HUF 1,000bn in combined EU and government funding by 2013, the end of the current EU budget period.

Untied funds still at disposal reach HUF 1,828.8bn of the HUF total 7,870bn EU funding available for Hungary in the 2007-2013 period, Mr Fellegi said at a Wednesday meeting, presenting the outlines of the New Szechenyi Plan -- named after the denoted Hungarian statesman Istvan Szechenyi of the 19th century -- in Budapest to enterpreneurs. Ongoing projects are worth HUF 1,480.2bn and projects launched with commitments are worth HUF 4,126.5bn.

Currently, the value of the funds that could be immediately mobilised for small and medium-sized businesses is HUF 155bn, Mr Fellegi said. He noted, however, that the government has already discussed a proposal to withdraw or restructure project funding worth a combined HUF 477bn based on a recently completed review of around 700 large projects.

Based on the review, project funding worth HUF 41bn will be withdrawn, thereby released, Mr Fellegi said. The remainder of the reviewed projects can be restructured toward the seven priority fields set in the Szechenyi plan and with a shift towards the participation of SMEs.

A note by the ministry added that it had proposed to witdraw only those projects where no progress has been made, or chances for completion are slim or which clearly contradict with the government's goals. Sustainable projects creating new jobs will go on undisturbed.

The national development minister said that the new Szechenyi plan will require the establishment of a new tender system, new institutions for the planning and distribution of the development funds as well as a new evaluation system.

They plan to simplify the tender procedure and make the system more transparent, the minister said. In a move to cut redtape and improve focus, they will also cut the number of tenders to 100-200 from around thousand under the New Hungary Development Plan run by the previous government. (MTI-ECONEWS)