Some 338 companies have indicated their plans to the government to carry out investments worth 162 billion forints (EUR 460m) in order to mitigate the negative economic impacts of the novel coronavirus epidemic, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said. The minister told public Kossuth Radio that this was projected to save 62,000 jobs. The ministry of foreign affairs and trade has launched a programme jointly with the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency to support investments that help preserve jobs, he said.
The government is currently in talks about doubling an original allocation of 50 billion forints for the scheme which involves funding 50% of the applicant companies’ planned investments, he added.
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.
He 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. 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.