By 2030 Hungary wants to be among the EU’s top five countries where it is worth living and working in, Minister of Finance Mihály Varga said, who held a press conference on the latest session of the National Competitiveness Council in Budapest.

At this meeting, he added, the Council debated proposals by the National Bank of Hungary and the Ministry for Innovation and Technology. The proposals aiming to improve competitiveness are going to be assessed until the end of the summer, and project managers will also be assigned, the Minister said.

The Government is weighing the option of keeping the preferential tax rate on healthcare fund savings, Mihály Varga noted. The package of fringe benefits (“cafeteria”) is only one of economic policy incentives, and there are amendment proposals concerning the budget bill which relate to this field. Besides the support of healthcare fund savings, pension fund contributions are also considered important by the Government, he added.

As far as the social contribution tax is concerned, a further decrease is planned as of July 2019 because this option can only be evaluated after the year 2018 is closed, he pointed out.

The agreement reached with employee and employer organizations in 2016 was the first one since the regime change, and employers undertook to bear sizable burdens in exchange for tax cuts, the Minister stressed. He wants to continue the implementation of the agreement according to the pre-set scenario.

The inflation rate is expected to be around 3 percent for the year.

The majority of comparative studies show that the size of bureaucracy within the Visegrad Four is the highest in Hungary -- the Minister said responding to journalists’ questions on the Government’s standpoint about the recommendation of the Confederation of Hungarian Employers and Industrialists that 100 thousand people must be dismissed from the public sector. The Government has frozen public sector hiring and the size of public administration is not planned to be increased in coming months. Negotiations are under way about how public administration tasks could be carried out “with a similar quality and a smaller staff”, he said.

((Ministry of Finance))