Hungary suspends loan payments for businesses, individuals

The principal and interest payment liabilities on loans taken out by private individuals and businesses up to the present day have been suspended up to the end of the year, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced on Wednesday, in a break of the cabinet meeting, in a video message posted on his Facebook account.

In the video message, the Prime Minister outlined the economy and job protection measures adopted by the government due to the coronavirus epidemic.

As part of these, short-term business loans have been extended until 30 June.

At the same time, the annual percentage rate (APR) of new consumer loans has been maximised at the central bank prime rate plus 5 per cent, the Prime Minister stated.

Additionally, in sectors already struggling with grave difficulties such as tourism, catering, the entertainment industry, sports, cultural services and passenger transportation – meaning taxi services – they are cancelling the contribution payment liabilities of employers in their entirety for a period extending to 30 June. At the same time, the contributions of employees are being reduced significantly; they will not be required to pay pension contributions and the health insurance contribution will be reduced to the statutory minimum.

Mr Orbán added that taxi drivers paying their taxes under the regime designed for small businesses (KATA) likewise will not be required to pay their flat-rate tax liabilities.

In these sectors, the termination of rental agreements and the raising of rentals will not be allowed.

They are also cancelling the tourism development contribution for a period extending to 30 June, the Prime Minister announced.

They have decided to make the rules of employment more flexible; the goal is to make it easier for employers and employees to come to an agreement, he indicated.

Mr Orbán said in the seven days since the state of danger was declared due to the coronavirus epidemic, they have organised Hungary’s “collective self-defence”, the joint efforts to contain the global pandemic, but the time has come to also make decisions concerning the economy, in addition to decisions on disease control and health care issues.

He stressed that the global coronavirus epidemic is a threat not only to people’s health – “though that is the most important and number one priority” – but also to jobs; it also jeopardises jobs.

They expect the decisions adopted at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday to protect jobs because “we have learnt in the past ten years that if there are jobs there is everything,” the Prime Minister said.

He highlighted that the first and most urgent decisions now adopted will be followed by others. Almost every day, further and further meaures will be implemented with a view to restarting the economy.

The general decree regarding these measures will be published on Wednesday, while the detailed rules will be released on Thursday.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)

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