Poland and Hungary are in Transition — страница 4

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authority and responsibility from upper-level administrative agencies to the enterprise level. The objective of NEM was to combine the central manipulation of key variables with local responsibility for the remaining decisions. The first change was a significant reduction in the number and complexity of the directives firms; for large state-owned firms, the traditional problems remain. Valuation is difficult, especially in loss-making enterprises. Moreover, it is hard to find buyers for these types of enterprises, let alone to arbitrate the potential rights of past owners. And just as elsewhere, privatization in Hungary is likely to become slower and more difficult as the focus shifts to the less attractive, large enterprises. In addition to privatization per se, Hungary has

addressed the creation of infrastructure (for example, a stock market) and new rules designed to change the guidance of enterprises. Accounting procedures have been refined and bankruptcy laws strengthened so that state subsidies can be diminished and hard budgets introduced into large state-owned enterprises. Hungary has also pursued a variety of stabilization measures and has liberalized policies in the sphere of foreign trade, though to a lesser degree and certainly more gradually than Poland. Domestic price controls have been substantially removed, and enterprises are permitted to enter into and benefit from foreign trade transactions. Although there are limits on the holding of foreign exchange, the Hungarian forint is substantially convertible for business purposes.

However, the Bank of Hungary has maintained controls such that it has access to foreign exchange earnings to serve as repayment of the Hungarian hard-currency debt. (Hungary has a per capita hard-currency debt roughly twice than in Poland). Hungary has followed a tight monetary policy designed to create a balanced budget and also to exert financial pressure on enterprises. Hungary has very liberal laws regarding foreign investment, including the possibility of full foreign ownership with permission. Moreover, repatriation laws are liberal. Not surprisingly, Hungary has been considered as a leader in the quest to attract foreign investment. The initial results of the transition process in Hungary have generally been positive. At the same time, it is proving difficult to sustain

popular support as the inevitable costs of the transition process take their toll.