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IMF asks Hungary for clarification in response to letter

The government has received a response to a letter sent to the International Monetary Fund in which the IMF has asked mainly for clarification, parliamentary group leader of governing Fidesz Antal Rogán said on commercial television early Wednesday.

The government will answer the IMF's letter, after which consultations with the international body's delegation can start again, Rogán said on TV2's Mokka program.

Hungary is seeking precautionary financial assistance from the IMF and the European Union.

Rogán said the IMF asked in its letter for clarification regarding several questions, such as the scale of fiscal improvement expected from some government measures. He added that the IMF also asked about the financial transactions duty, which is to be levied on the National Bank of Hungary as well as commercial banks.

"We will respond to [these issues], and I think that afterward consultations between the Hungarian government and the IMF delegation will start again," he said.

Speaking about ideas the government is considering, Rogán said deciding not to replace retiring public sector workers in the coming two years could reduce the number of people employed in the sector by an annual 20,000. The idea of raising pension contributions for the top 1% of earners has also come up, he added.

He said the excise tax content on cigarettes would rise from next year, in compliance with a commitment to the European Union.