“Hungarian agriculture has shown its strength, harvesting 5.7 million tons of wheat.” – Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister, in his address to parliament on Monday.
The Hungarian government has declared an investment by development tycoon Lőrinc Mészáros to be “of elevated importance for the national economy”, meaning the developer, Visonta Projekt Ipari és Szolgáltató Kft., needn’t apply to local building authorities for permits but rather to the relevant ministry, reports Napi.hu.
As further justification for its special treatment of the company, the government said the project represents a HUF 26 billion (USD 94.2 million) investment that will create 250 factory jobs plus jobs in the region related to servicing the factory. The company plans to generate HUF 20 billion (USD 72.5 million) in revenue per year, according to its business plan.
The project is a wheat processing plant in the economically depressed Heves county, in the town of Visonta northeast of Budapest. The company was set up last year by Mészáros-owned Mészáros és Mészáros Kft. and Duna Aszfalt Kft. with a registered capital of HUF 100 million (USD 362,000).
Lőrinc Mészáros is a childhood friend of Orbán and he is mayor of the prime minister’s home town. He has a remarkable knack for winning state-issued development contracts, turning him into one of Hungary’s most affluent men.
Last year, Mészáros opened a state-of-the-art mangalica pig farm to much fanfare, built largely at Hungarian and EU taxpayer expense.
He has denied being Orbán’s straw man.