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EconMin to focus on three main reform areas in 2007

The Economy and Transport Ministry will continue reforms next year focussing on three major areas namely; the modernization of the public transportation system, liberalization of the energy market and eliminating unnecessary bureaucratic obstacles for businesses, the economy minister János Kóka told MTI on Wednesday.

The reform of the public transportation system includes bringing the long-distance Volán bus companies under the ownership of the ministry as of January to better allow them to be "streamlined and modernized", Kóka said. To encourage lorries to use motorways, tolls will be introduced on some of Hungary's smaller roads, Kóka said, and added that as of 2008, electronic tolls will be introduced allowing vehicle owners to pay only as much as they use motorways.
On liberalizing the energy market, Kóka said he expected the full deregulation of the electricity market to cause a major conflict. But "to protect consumers' interests, we need to restructure the entire system of monopolies and other preferences," he said.

Central budget funds earmarked for energy savings will be tripled in 2007 compared to 2006, Kóka said, adding that a further Ft 15 billion (€59.2 million) worth of credit would also be available from the Hungarian Development Bank (MFB). He expected that Ft 40 billion (€158 million) would be saved on gas bills by 2010 as a result of the energy savings program.
On carrying the restructuring of the ministry, Kóka said that "we have eliminated parallel functions performing identical tasks within the ministry and in our background institutions, we have cut the number of departments from 70 to 23 at the ministry to improve efficiency and will start the year 2007 with background institutions making up one-third of their earlier number," he added. (