Hungary’s budget for 2021 and 2022 is expected to be determined by coronavirus spending, a government official told pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet.
In an interview published on Thursday, Péter Benő Banai said the government had spent around 1,000 billion forints (EUR 2.7bn) on health-care measures against the coronavirus pandemic since its emergence in March 2020. Economy protection spending came to some 4,000 billion, he said.
Thanks to “unprecedented reserves” amassed by the Fidesz government’s economic measures in previous years, the government was able to use 300 billion immediately to combat the pandemic, Banai said. Protection measures taken since contributed to the 2020 deficit coming to an estimated 8 percent of GDP rather than the expected 9 percent, Banai said.
The 2021 budget will be determined by pandemic protection and the restart of the economy, he said. To that end, the government will probably propose amendments to the budget during the spring parliamentary season, to “include resources needed for a restart and to incorporate a higher deficit than expected, as well as a lower debt forecast,” he said.
In 2022, the budget will include the tax exemption for all Hungarians under the age of 25, a measure decided on in early 2021, and continue to re-introduce the pension bonus, he said. Meanwhile, state debt will have to be reduced to comply with the Constitution, Banai said.
featured image: Péter Benő Banai in the Parliament; via Lajos Soós/MTI