To help mitigate the negative economic impacts of the novel coronavirus epidemic, some 338 companies have so far indicated their plans to the government to carry out investments worth HUF 162 billion (EUR 460m).
Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, told Kossuth Radio that this was projected to save 62,000 jobs. He said the ministry has launched a program jointly with the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency to support investments that help preserve jobs.
The minister added that the government is currently in talks about doubling an original allocation of HUF 50 billion for the scheme which involves funding 50 percent of the applicant companies’ planned investments.
Minister Szijjártó said the pandemic posed not only a health problem but also an economic problem and states were responsible for managing the negative economic impacts beyond the number one task to protect human life. The fact that so many companies have applied for the scheme also demonstrates the successful cooperation between the economic sector and the government, he said.
The minister added that there was an ongoing economic philosophical debate which involved the opposition demanding increased benefits. He said this would result in indebtedness and make the country vulnerable to “speculators”. The government, however, has been following the principle since 2010 that instead of benefits, offering work is what helps people. Jobs can be created with investment, which has been the reason for the current scheme, he added.
Finally, Minister Szijjártó said everything would change in the global economy after the crisis, with a new competition starting, involving new players. Success will depend on what “starting position” economic players can take, he added.
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