On Wednesday, news appeared in the Hungarian media that the government has imposed a payment freeze in its affiliated bodies until October 31. Shortly afterwards, the Finance Ministry confirmed the news.
The measure was announced in a government decree, which stated that government departments, with a few exceptions, would not be allowed to pay anything other than salaries until the specified date.
According to Telex, a Hungarian news site, there are four exceptions to the current situation: the financing of child welfare, health and public education costs for municipalities and other bodies, salaries and other personal allowances, expenditure linked to international treaties or other legislation, and payments due for EU programs for 2014-2020.
As a consequence, items such as the payment of consultants or outside cleaners, or even the invoices of security companies and the purchase of soft drinks and coffee will not be paid in the coming period.
The Government Control Office will check that departments are complying with the ban on payments.
The Ministry of Finance officially confirmed the news to ATV shortly after the media reports appeared. “The government has imposed disciplined, frugal management on budget agencies in response to the sanctions energy crisis.
Sanction surcharges have to be paid for natural gas and electricity, so as long as the sanctions are in place, the government will continue to manage the sector frugally,”
according to the Ministry.
According to the article in Telex, which cited government sources, the decision may be motivated by the fact that Economic Development Minister Márton Nagy announced the investment rollback and spending cuts in May, but these may not have been implemented at the right pace. In other words, the spending cuts announced earlier by the Minister now need to be checked to see who complied. This could eventually bring a sort of tidying up of the government sector.
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