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Parliament committee approves 2007 budget bill

Parliament's economic committee approved on Wednesday the 2007 budget bill as well as the bill on amending the 2006 budget, but experts expressed concern that cutback targets would not be met, Econews reported.

The submission of the budget bill was approved with 15 supporting votes by coalition MPs and 12 votes against by opposition MPs. The 2007 budget bill focuses on improving the balance of public finances and fulfilling the obligations undertaken in the convergence program submitted to the European Union, Finance Ministry department head Gyula Engyel said. The bill includes consolidated gross revenues of Ft 14,406 billion and expenditure of Ft 16,159 billion, he added.
State Audit Office (ÁSz) Chairman Árpád Kovács said the 2007 budget bill contained correct headline figures but failed to provide detailed figures showing which reforms would produce what kind of savings. He said public sector administration had not been cut back and therefore its expenses had not fallen. In addition, he said there were significant risks included in the bill. The credit line of large state-owned companies should be restricted because it may increase the budget deficit by several percentage points.
Deputy chairman of the economic committee delegated by the main opposition Fidesz party János Fónagy said the 2007 budget bill said the bill had been prepared hastily and its attempts to consolidate public finances had not been properly thought out.