Budapest, August 4 (MTI) – Economy Minister Mihály Varga said amendments to be proposed by his ministry in the autumn will provide further growth opportunities for banks, the stock exchange, employment and business.
Interviewed by business weekly Figyelő, the minister said that the government plans measures to broaden the foundations of economic growth, which had been driven by European Union funding or some other one-off factors so far, adding that Hungary’s one-sided dependence on these resources should be reduced and SMEs prepared for the time when these funds dry up or at least won’t be available at the current level.
Varga said the government is considering restructuring job-creation programmes with a view to improving workforce mobility and efficiency. With its 5.1 percent unemployment rate, Hungary has got close to full employment, he said. Varga did not rule out employing foreign workers if no Hungarian workers were available. He said the government has to focus on Hungarian workforce but needs to listen to the needs of employers, as well, otherwise investment opportunities could be missed. The minister said he had the impression that one automotive company had cancelled a planned investment in the country because of the shortage of qualified workforce.
Varga said Hungary is in no hurry to adopt the euro and will not join the ERM-II system next year. He said adopting the euro in 2020 would be hasty from the economic point of view, adding that competitiveness must be improved first. He also said it was important for the euro zone to strengthen.
Varga said he projects 1.5 to 2 percent economic growth in the second quarter, double of the low 0.9 percent year-on-year increase in the first quarter, adding that this year’s GDP growth forecast of 2.5 percent will not be revised for the moment.
He said the restructuring of the tax authority NAV has not been completed yet, there is still room for streamlining the organisation. He confirmed that a new official will be appointed to the position of deputy state secretary for the reorganisation of the tax office on August 15. Figyelő has learnt that Norbert Izer, from consulting company PwC, will succeed Zoltán Pankucsi in this position.