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Coronavirus – Orbán: Gov’t Suspends Debt Service for Businesses, Individuals

MTI-Hungary Today 2020.03.18.

The government has decided to suspend until the end of the year the capital and interest rate payment obligations of both private individuals and businesses under effective loan agreements, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced on his Facebook page on Wednesday.

The government has also decided to extend short term business loans until June 30, and maximised the “total cost of borrowing” indicator, known by the acronym “THM”, for new retail loans at the national bank’s base rate plus 5 percent, Orbán said.

Orbán said businesses in the tourism, catering, entertainment, sport and culture sectors, as well as taxi businesses, would not have to pay payroll tax this year. Employee contributions in these sectors will be “significantly cut”, he added, explaining that pension contributions will not be taken out of paycheques and the health insurance contribution will be reduced to the minimum allowed by law until June 30.

In the sectors most affected by the new coronavirus epidemic property lease contracts cannot be terminated, nor can owner raise the rent, Orbán said, adding that the government was working to make employment rules more flexible.

He said the tourism development contribution would be suspended till June 30.

Orban said the measures were “only the first, most urgent” ones, adding that more could follow.

The National Bank of Hungary has just called on banks to introduce a moratorium on household loan repayments considering the “extraordinary situation” due to the coronavirus crisis and  to temporarily suspend corporate debt payments. Should the banks fail to introduce the moratorium, MNB said today it would ask the government to implement the measure by decree.

Featured photo illustration by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI