The Hungarian government is already allocating money from the 2017 budget, while even the budget reporting for 2015 has not been released yet. It had never happened before, but it became possible to delay the assessment due to a legislative amendment, napi.hu wrote.
Hungary already has a budget adopted for 2017, but what the government spent a few thousand billion forints on in 2015 is still unknown. Under the current public finance law, the budget reporting must be presented to the Parliament by 31 August, and most of the various governments have fulfilled this obligation only on the legal deadline. According to an amendment adopted in the spring; however, the new deadline is 30 September.
The necessity of the amendment was justified on the grounds that the State Audit Office of Hungary (SAO) needs one more month for a more detailed and accurate work. The amended deadline is also favourable because SAO employees do not have to work on the financial accounts during the holiday season, but have time to do so in September instead.
The one month delay is another step back in the transparency of the budget management, said Balázs Romhányi, the director of the Fiscal Responsibility Institute Budapest. Romhányi recalled that the necessary data must be available for both the Hungarian State Treasury and the Ministry for National Economy on the first working day following the budgetary year ¬- as the preliminary and the detailed budgetary data, which is released in December, are both based on these. Thus, SAO could already begin its audit activity at the end of January, said the director.
Although the budget reporting for 2015 has not been released, the government is already spending money from the 2017 budget. Several government decisions have been published in the Hungarian Gazette in the previous days, such as the allocation of HUF 645 million (EUR 2.1 million) for the 33rd European Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships 2017 held in Budapest.
The amounts earmarked are not negligible even if the HUF 110 billion (EUR 355 million) budgetary reserve is taken into account, but further governmental decisions to grant similar amounts in the following months would mean that a substantial part of the reserve is spent before the next budgetary year.
edited by Gábor Hajnal