“The Hungarian economy is growing at a suitable rate, but in view of the worsening international environment we must concentrate on maintaining that growth”, the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Chief said at his annual hearing before Parliament’s Economic Committee.

From among the international effects, Antal Rogán mentioned the slowdown of the European economy, which in his opinion is the consequence of mistaken decisions by Brussels. From among the Government decisions aimed at promoting growth, he first emphasised the significance of supporting tourism. He justified the incentive measures with the fact that the sector’s performance is increasing at double the rate of the economy as a whole, achieving 11 percent of GDP last year. In summary, he said that the development of tourist destinations and the construction and modernisation of places of accommodation could receive almost 900 billion forints (EUR 2.78 billion) in funding until 2030.

He said the reorganisation of the cafeteria system had been successful, citing the fact that transfers of money to Széchenyi Leisure Cards (SZÉP cards) had increased by 94 percent compared to last year, and the sum could soon increase the revenues of domestic tourist destinations.

“Local governments were unable to complete the Beech Development Program by the 31 May deadline because of the unfavourable weather, and accordingly the Government has authorised an extension of the deadline”, he stated.

In his report, Mr. Rogán also mentioned the Digital Government Agency, the establishment of which he justified with the fact that the organisation makes state IT expenditure more transparent and organisable, while planned and better thought out procurement improves the efficiency of state corporations, public administration and even public utility services. “The Agency examines the justification for IT procurements and their links to procurements for similar purposes, and puts an end to unnecessary expenditure derived from software licence sales, pushing marketing chains that are built on this out of the system”, he added.

At the end of his hearing, Mr. Rogán said the Government continues to regard National Consultations as instruments that can create a connection with voters in between elections, and accordingly the funding for new consultations is available for both this year and next year.

Mr. Rogán pointed out that net average incomes have increased by almost 80 percent since 2010, the minimum wage has doubled, and the rate of VAT on basic foodstuffs, which are also important from the perspective of Hungarian farmers, has fallen significantly. Referring to the residence bond programme, he noted that it would not be continuing in any form in view of the fact that there is no further need for the related revenue. “No objections were raised from abroad either with relation to the purchasers of the bonds, and the other states of the Schengen Area also had access to their data” he added. With relation to boat companies and boating on the Danube, he added that the partly state-owned Mahart Passnave Ltd. was not involved in the tragic Danube boat accident, which was caused by the collision of privately-owned vessels.

He also spoke about the operation of Liszt Ferenc international Airport, calling the 2006 privatisation a mistake and damaging. “The Government is not satisfied with Budapest Airport’s development projects, but is looking into the possibility of establishing an expressway system leading directly to the airport”, Mr. Rogán stated.

With relation to tourism development projects, he said ecology criteria were being handled with extreme priority, but waterside housing estates being constructed using private capital fall within the sphere of competence of local governments, and accordingly cannot be prevented by government action.

As he explained, the reorganisation of the public procurement system had been necessary to simplify procedures. Mr. Rogán emphasised that the establishment of the National Communications Office had improved the transparency of state spending.