According to the Staff Concluding Statement of the 2018 Article IV Mission, experts of the International Monetary Fund has found Hungary’s macro-economic situation “stable”, the economic growth of 2018 “strong” and the 2019 budget “a step in the right direction”. The IMF delegation visited Budapest on 14-26 June.

The Concluding Statement also notes that one of the challenges which the Hungarian economy faces is the bolstering of competitiveness and the joining of global value chains. In the report, the IMF also underlines the importance of measures which could improve the productivity of SMEs. As in January, members of the delegation have once again met with members of the National Competitiveness Council.

The Government of Hungary believes that a positive U-turn as far as competitiveness is concerned is already under way; this fact is reflected by feedback from economic stakeholders, macro-economic achievements, credit ratings and international competitiveness rankings alike.

As SMEs have a significant role to play in boosting Hungary’s competitiveness, the Government is upgrading the 2013 SME strategy in close cooperation with the OECD, taking into account special Hungarian characteristics concerning the regulatory and business environment.

The IMF has continued to pay attention to the issue of labour shortages. In this regard, experts recommend the improvement of public education and vocational training, the reduction in the number of participants in public work schemes and the increase of the availability of child-care facilities.

The Government shares these views. The National Competitiveness Council is commissioned to table further proposals for the development of the public education and vocational education systems. The vocational education system has been overhauled in recent years but it requires further adaptation in today’s ever-changing world. One of the Government’s main objectives is to extend the dual education system operated together with corporate partners, and the number of apprenticeships is expected to rise by 40 percent until 2022. Through the amendment of the vocational education law, the Government is aiming to make the system more attractive and to increase learning options.

(Ministry of Finance)