Govt freezes spending for new stability reserve

Budapest, February 12 (MTI) – Hungary’s government has decided to create most of a planned 250 billion forint (EUR 915m) budget reserve fund by freezing some 187 billion forints in allocations to ministries and government institutions, the latest issue of the Magyar Kozlony official gazette shows.

The Ministry of National Resources, which is in charge of health care, culture and education will be most affected by the freeze, which is for 39 billion forints. It will be followed by the Interior Ministry, with 34.9 billion forints, and the Defence Ministry, with 26.3 billion forints.  

    Some 13 billion forints will be freezed at the Tax and Customs Office and 2.1 billion forints at institutions in charge of pension and health insurance administration.

    The freeze will take effect on February 23.

    National Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy announced plans to create a stability reserve in the budget in order to protect Hungary from market volatility in early February. Prime Minister Viktor Orban approved the plan on Monday this week.    

    The main opposition Socialists called on the government to retract the decree which also includes a cut in allocations to the unemployment fund, the party’s spokesman told MTI on Saturday.

    As a result of the government decree which withdraws 16 billion forints from the fund, the amount available to help the unemployed and job seekers would be cut by 5 percent this year compared to original plans, said Zsolt Torok.