The innovation and technology ministry is launching a programme to boost employment in areas of the country where the unemployment rate is higher than the national average, the state secretary for employment policy said. The government has allocated 12 billion forints (EUR 4.0bn) to the scheme targeting SMEs working in the north, north-east, south and south-east of the country, Sándor Bodó told a news conference. The government will support companies ready to raise their headcount by at least three, he said. It will pay 60%-70% of wage costs, depending on the SME’s size, he added. The companies will take on an obligation to maintain those jobs for at least three years, Bodó said. The government’s tax policy has enabled a continuous wage growth through 83 months, he noted.