He said that the goal is to achieve further expansion in the sector, and for its share to increase from its present level of 6 per cent of gross national product to 8 per cent. Speaking on World Pharmacists Day, the Prime Minister highlighted that in Hungary the sector directly provides jobs for some 14,000 people and indirectly provides support for 34,000 families.
The Prime Minister congratulated Béres Pharmaceuticals on its latest HUF 3.2 billion development, for which the government provided a non-repayable grant of HUF 1.3 billion from its large companies investment support programme. The project has created 37 new jobs, and as a result the number of local people employed there has risen from an initial figure of 64 to more than 300.
Mr. Orbán pointed out that over a time span of more than two decades there have been a number of developments at Béres Pharmaceuticals’ Szolnok plant, with the previous one being opened less than a year ago. These have been at a combined cost – including this project – of over HUF 10 billion, he said.
The Prime Minister praised the Béres family’s success story, saying that amidst keen market competition the only path to success is the development of new products and the updating of existing ones. “We need many more of these stories in Hungary”, the Prime Minister said. Mr. Orbán added that everything possible is being done to enable as many Hungarian family businesses as possible to pursue the path followed by Béres Pharmaceuticals.
The company operates with Hungarian knowledge, development and workers. The Prime Minister stressed that “any success that bears our national colours – red, white and green – is naturally closest to our hearts”.
Mr. Orbán said that the Béres Pharmaceuticals building is the tenth industrial facility to have been opened in the six months since the Hungarian general election this spring, with the total value of these projects standing at almost HUF 65 billion.
He noted that today the Hungarian economy is growing at a rate of between 4 and 5 per cent, compared to a figure of around zero in 2010. He said that the rate of employment now stands at almost 70 per cent, while in 2010 it was less than 55 per cent: today there are 4.5 million people in work, and full employment is well within reach. The Prime Minister added that he sees this as a vindication of the Government’s past decisions, based on the concept that “the future can be built on the foundations of hard work and families”.
“The era of rescuing the country has given way to the era of building the country – including in the economic sense”, he declared.
According to the Prime Minister, Hungary must ensure that domestically-owned businesses’ share of Hungarian exports increases by at least 50 per cent of their current share. He pointed out that while economic growth of 4 to 5 per cent also requires the contribution of large international corporations, Hungary cannot rely on them exclusively. He warned that the crisis showed that when “the crash comes” everyone takes their money home – and large international companies also have homes of their own.
Mr. Orbán stated that the Hungarian economy will truly be secure when the proportion of Hungarian companies and businesses in the country exceeds that of international companies.
József Béres, President of Béres Pharmaceuticals, said that the project involved the purchase and conversion of a disused 2,500-square-metre food industry facility, which has been turned into a modern quality-control laboratory built to the highest standards. The associated infrastructure development comprises the installation of analytical testing, R+D and production equipment, an enlarged R+D base, and floor area enabling the production of new products. He added that domestic sales account for the majority of the company’s sales revenues, but 20 per cent of sales revenue now comes from exports.
At the event Mayor of Szolnok Ferenc Szalay said that on 30 August, the annual City Day, Szolnok awarded József Béres honorary Szolnok citizenship, as “the city has much to thank the Béres Family for”. He indicated that Béres Pharmaceuticals contributes HUF 110 million to the city’s tax revenues.