Josef hírek

2013.01.12. 22:13

Gov t willing to reduce bank tax if lending to SMEs expanded, says Rogan

Budapest, January 10 (MTI) - The government is willing to consider reducing the bank tax if the banks are willing to expand lending activities to small and medium sized companies (SMEs), ruling Fidesz party group leader Antal Rogan told MTI in an interview.

Budapest, January 10 (MTI) - The government is willing to consider reducing the bank tax if the banks are willing to expand lending activities to small and medium sized companies (SMEs), ruling Fidesz party group leader Antal Rogan told MTI in an interview.

The government expects the banks to make the first move in this regard, he added.

 

Rogan said Hungary s central bank is among the most independent of its European peers partly as a result of conditions demanded by the European Union. These conditions have been stricter than those applied in most other European countries, for instance the exclusion of a government representative from monetary council meetings and not allowing the cabinet to express its opinion on monetary policy, he said.

 

The government will keep to this even after the change of central bank governor this spring and "we will keep our promise that no government representative will attend monetary council meetings unless he is invited to," Rogan said.

 

The new central bank head will be expected to work together with the government only as much as the European Central Bank helps euro-zone countries to jointly combat the European economic and financial crisis, he added.

 

Rogan declined to comment on speculations that Prime Minister Viktor Orban may propose Economy Minister Gyorgy Matolcsy to the post of next central bank governor.

 

Commenting on rules affecting energy suppliers in Hungary, Rogan said the Fidesz group plans to pass a consumer protection package at its meeting in Gyula (S) in February that will ensure stronger protection of families against the energy providers.

 

"The government is determined to ensure that public services should not be profit-oriented," he said. In addition to the recently introduced cut in the price of gas, electricity and district heating, the cabinet is examining the possibility of tariff cuts for water supply, sewage and waste disposal services.

 

He added that many of the affected service providers are partly owned by Western-European companies "that behave much more cautiously at home and very differently in Hungary" when it comes to generating profits. He at the same time criticised the left-wing opposition, saying they defended the interest of the banks and energy suppliers instead of families .

 

Commenting on the government s job protection plan, he said in order to improve employment, it must be ensured that all affected companies should be able to make use of the available tax allowances. The programme will be continually monitored, and if necessary, parliament will make amendments and create more specific regulations this spring.

 

The Constitutional Court s recent decision on the election procedures law, according to which voter registration would be unconstitutional, have created a clearer framework under which the election system s reform will be implemented, Rogan said.

 

The ruling party alliance of Fidesz and the Christian Democrats have achieved significant success in four areas out of five. The size of parliament will be reduced, the election will be held in one round, the constituencies will be more proportionately distributed, and ethnic Hungarians beyond the borders will be granted elections rights, he added.

 

Fidesz lawyers will study the top court s decision in the next two to three weeks and the party will finalise its position on the election procedures law at the group meeting in Gyula, after which the law can be approved in parliament in April, Rogan said. It will not be necessary to send the new law for constitutional court review because the top court s opinion will be taken into consideration when finalising the text, he added.

 

Rogan said he was not concerned about international press reports that interpreted the constitutional court s decision against voter registration as a serious defeat for Fidesz. He said Hungarian voters will understand that this is the first government that not only promises but indeed implements a reform of the election system.

 

Commenting on Hungarian journalist Zsolt Bayer s recent critical remarks concerning the Roma minority that have caused condemnation in Hungary and abroad, Rogan said it should not be forgotten that a "beastly crime" had been committed and this has caused public uproar.

 

"It is of course not right if someone forms an overall opinion about an entire community in connection with a concrete criminal act. This cannot be justified by any high temper," he said. At the same time, he criticised opposition Socialist politicians for condemning the journalist only and indirectly protecting those that committed the crime.

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