In the first seven months of this year, the Hungarian food industry increased its production value by 10 per cent, thereby exceeding HUF 2,000 billion, meaning that it is positively competitive, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Monday in Zalaegerszeg. At the inauguration of the new plant of Zalaco Sütőipari Zrt. implemented from HUF 4 billion, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade highlighted that the Hungarian food industry provides jobs for 145,000 people, and increased its overall output by 7 per cent also last year.

The Hungarian government provided a non-repayable grant of HUF 836 million for the new Zalaegerszeg plant producing packaged and frozen baked goods and confectionery products, and the company agreed to create 150 new jobs, Mr Szijjártó indicated. The Minister said the world economy is undergoing a fourth modern-day industrial revolution, and the Hungarian economy, too, is “in a state of changing dimensions” when it is heading from simple production towards the implementation of an economy that uses the latest cutting-edge technologies.

“The Hungarian economy is undergoing an extraordinary phase of renewal, in the wake of which we are only a few short steps away from full employment,” while economic growth is the highest here in the entire European Union, standing at above 5 per cent, he said. He added that it is thanks to Hungary’s economic policy, which is based on low taxes on labour, that the economy has been able to grow steadily for 6 years in a row, and parallel with this, the country’s sovereign debt has also continuously decreased.

Hungary, ranked 92nd in the world in terms of its population figure, but occupying the prestigious ranking of 34th as regards its export performance, is one of the 35 countries which are able to export goods worth more than EUR 100 billion annually, he said, pointing out that today we are making a genuine contribution to Europe’s performance, and in actual fact, the Central European region is increasingly becoming the engine of Europe. For instance, Germany’s volume of trade with the Visegrád Four is 74 per cent higher than trade between France and Germany which is traditionally seen as a yardstick, Mr Szijjártó added.

Regarding Zala County’s economic data, he said while in 2010 unemployment was 12.6 per cent, today it stands at just 2.5 per cent. In the first quarter of this year, investments worth HUF 13 billion were implemented in the county, which is 13 per cent higher than during last year’s corresponding period. At the same time, the data for the first six months shows a 41 per cent increase which by far exceeds the national average of 26 per cent, and meanwhile there are ongoing negotiations about 7 major projects, he said.

He also highlighted that the testing ground built in Zalaegerszeg is one of the flagship projects of the automotive industry constituting the backbone of the Hungarian economy where large international car manufacturers are queuing up to use the facility. This is where the first modern workers’ accommodation was completed from grants provided by the government, and the first phase of the M76 express road will be inaugurated next summer.

Mayor Zoltán Balaicz (Fidesz-KDNP) recalled that since its establishment in 2014, the incumbent county assembly has concentrated on the development of the economy, and as a result, 4,000 new jobs have come into being in the city. Among the projects already implemented or under way, he mentioned the workers’ accommodation built from an allocation of HUF 600 million, the dual vocational training centre to be created from funding in a similar magnitude, the innovation and knowledge centre to be inaugurated within days, the ever expanding business incubator centre, and the automotive industry testing ground. He observed that Zalaco is one of the “brands” of the county and the city, which carries the reputation of Zala County and Zalaegerszeg afar.

László Berta, Chief Executive of Zalaco said, among others, that in the past 20 years they have trained 500 confectioners and bakers in their educational workshops where they also provide practical training. They employ 40 workers with reduced working capacity, and also this year they are participatign in university dual training with 5 students.

The company group started building its retail network in Zala, Vas, Veszprém and Győr-Moson-Sopron Counties in 2007. After this year’s production volume totalling 40 million scones, next year the new plant will be able to produce as many as 110 million scones which will permit an increase in the company’s exports. Also today, they are exporting scones to Croatia and Serbia, while later they will market their products also in Slovenia and Austria as “a truly genuine product from the time of the Monarchy,” the Chief Executive said.

(Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI)