Budapest (MTI) – Wage rises will be one of the government’s top priorities in the coming years, government office chief János Lázár said at his weekly press conference on Thursday.
Lázár said wage pressures are growing in the Hungarian economy with businesses pushing for payroll tax cuts. Decisions about wage increases should be stable and predictable, Lázár said, adding that the government should promote both pay hikes and investments.
He said the economy had strengthened considerably since 2010 with the unemployment rate consistently below 5 percent and the budget deficit at an all-time low.
The government also aims to reduce administrative burdens for companies in connection with preparing their tax returns, he said.
Answering a question about projections on the long-term rise in real wages, Lázár said he believed it was realistic to project that real wages could rise by 30 to 40 percent within the next five years.
On the topic of the reduction of red tape in public administration, Lázár said recent efforts on the government’s part in this area had been successful. Around 85 percent of administrative tasks can be taken care of within 8 days compared with 44 percent in 2014, he said. The scrapping of certain administrative fees have saved citizens a total of around 4 billion forints (EUR 13m), he added. Next week the government will prepare a plan to do away with further administrative fees in 2017, he revealed.
Commenting on the residency bond scheme, he insisted that it would be scrapped, as there is “no need for it”.
On the subject of the upgrade of Budapest’s third metro line, Lázár said service on that line should be suspended immediately if its condition carries public safety risks. The assessment of this should be a professional matter and not a political one, he insisted. Lázár said the government had so far allocated 200 billion forints towards the metro upgrade, adding that the government is prepared to provide additional funding for the project if needed. Regarding the procurement of replacement buses that will be needed during the upgrade, Lazar said it was impossible to simplify public procurement rules, citing an EU directive.
Last month, the public procurements committee (KDB) annulled a tender invited by the Budapest Transport Centre (BKK) for replacement bus services.
Asked about the planned introduction of a chancellery system in public health care, Lázár said that rather than restructuring, the health-care sector is in need of salary increases and infrastructure development. This is a realistic goal, he said.