Hungary will maintain its price controls on gas and food, as well as its interest rate freeze, according to Gergely Gulyás, the minister in charge of the Prime Minister’s Office, who spoke during a press conference on Saturday. Explaining the government’s most recent measures, the minister stressed that the conflict and the sanctions enacted in response caused a sharp increase in energy prices. The extensions have been put in place to safeguard people from these negative effects.
The price caps for food and fuel were initially intended to expire on 1 October, while the caps on interest rates on 31 December of this year. The restrictions on fuel and food have been extended until the end of the year, while the interest rate freeze has been extended by six months. According to the measures, a maximum price will continue to be applied to staple commodities, 95-octane gasoline, basic diesel, and some other foodstuffs (such as granulated sugar, fine wheat flour, pork leg and chicken breast). The present decision states that the earlier-instituted interest rate cap will be in place through the middle of next year due to a sharp increase in interest rates in response to rising inflation. Gergely Gulyás stressed that the government is making every effort to ensure that the state of Hungary’s budget would permit the continuation of the current system of price limits and the household utility cost reduction program.
According to Márton Nagy, the cabinet’s minister of economic development, the Hungarian government is also developing a program to protect energy-intensive small and medium-sized industries (SMEs). The minister explained that companies qualify as energy-intensive if they used 3 per cent of their net sales earnings to pay for energy in 2021. The programme will begin on 1 October and continue through 2023. Márton Nagy emphasized that the initiative supports businesses in terms of operating costs and investments, focusing on SMEs in the processing industries. Businesses can obtain assistance for up to 50 per cent of the increase in their operating cost compared to 2021 in the months of October, November, and December. When making investments, SMEs are entitled to financial assistance equal to up to 15 per cent of their own contribution.