Hungarian ministries spend USD 4.2 million annually on outside consultants

November 11, 2015

consultantsSome 159 different political consultants and advisers provide services to Hungary’s various ministers and undersecretariats at a cost to Hungarian taxpayers of HUF 95 million (USD 333,000) a month.  Daily news site 444.hu says the cost is likely much higher than this because Hungary’s newly-appointed propaganda minister, Antal Rogán, has not disclosed how many consultants his ministry employs or for how much.

This means the government spends something to the order of  HUF 1.2 billion (USD 4.2 million) annually on consultants providing advice to ministers and undersecretaries — positions occupied largely by politicians.

The ministries will not disclose who receives what kind of advice from which consultants.

Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) MP Attila Mesterházy recently asked each and every ministry to disclose the number and names of outside political advisors and experts they employ, and how much the services cost.  With the exception of the new “Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office” headed by former Fidesz parliamentary fraction head Rogán, the ministries published the information on the website of the Hungarian parliament on Monday.

Rogán defended his decision to keep this information secret on the grounds that the names and salaries of the consultants working for his ministry is not something the public needs to know.

The highest number of political advisors are employed by the Ministry Overseeing the Office the Prime Minister, which spends around HUF 25 million (USD 88,000) a month on consulting fees.  Hungary’s chancellery employs 45 outside consultants.  Two of Minister János Lázár’s highest paid advisors cost taxpayers more than HUF 2,522,900 (USD 9,000) per month.  An additional 18 political advisors receive an average monthly salary of around HUF 440,000 (USD 1,540).

Undersecretaries at the Office of the Prime Minister employ a total of 18 advisors, each at an average cost to taxpayers of around HUF 500,000 (USD 1,750) per month. The undersecretaries also have a total of six political chief advisors paid an average of HUF 950,000 (USD 3,300) per month.

Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén pays one advisor around HUF 750,000 (USD 2,600) per month.

The Ministry of Human Resources employs 44 consultants at a monthly cost of HUF 26.3 million (USD 92,000).

Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó employs three chief advisors for around HUF 2.5 million per month and 11 advisors for around HUF 6.1 million per month.

It appears that Interior Minister Sándor Pintér only employs three consultants whose identities are confidential. One of them makes around HUF 1.5 million (USD 5,300) per month.  The ministry itself employs a total of five consultants.

Hungary’s Defense Ministry does not employ any outside consultants but the Minister himself, István Simicskó, currently employs two chief advisors whose identities are not known.

The following list summarizes how many advisors are contracted to each ministry and at what cost:

Prime Minister’s Office                             – 45 advisors – HUF 25,935,000 per month
Ministry of Human Resources                 – 44 advisors – HUF 26,258,700
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade    – 19 advisors – HUF 13,830,000 per month
Ministry of Agriculture                              – 17 advisors – HUF 10,526,400 per month
Ministry of National Economics              – 10 advisors – HUF 6,835,200 per month
Ministry of Justice                                      – 7 advisors – HUF 4,706,450 per month
Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office              – 7 advisors – unknown
Ministry of the Interior                             – 5 advisors – HUF 3,978,345 per month
Ministry of National Development         – 5 advisors – HUF 3,785,400 per month
Ministry of Defense                                    – no consulting advisors