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Government urged to reconsider bank tax

March 6th, 2015

Commentators on both Right and Left call on the government to reconsider the surplus taxes on banks as the state buys an interest in retails banks and the economy grows at a 3.5 per cent rate.

The bank sector reported 414 billion Forint in losses for 2014 as a combined result of the bank tax and the government’s efforts to convert FX loans to Forint credit, Miklós Bonta writes in Népszava. Since 2010, banks accrued a total of more than 800 billion Forint losses, the left-wing columnist recalls. But as the Hungarian government purchased an interest in retail banks (see BudaPost February 12), it cannot continue what Bonta considers a punitive anti-bank policy. If banks continue to produce a loss, the Hungarian government as a stakeholder will have to pay, Bonta notes. “The campaign against banks should now end,” Bonta concludes.

In Magyar Hírlap, Csaba Szajlai contends that the Hungarian economy has been consolidated as indicated by the 3.5 GDP growth rate last year (see BudaPost February 16). As the deficit has been kept low and public debt has not increased, the prospects for Hungary are good too, the conservative columnist believes. Szajlai suspects that the government will reconsider the bank tax soon. This would further boost investors’ confidence, and in turn be followed by an upgrade of Hungary’s credit rating, he suggests.

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