According to the calculations of mfor.hu, since the beginning of the pandemic, covid-excused emergency spending worked out like this:
- EUR 400 million on sport
- EUR 295 million on churches
- EUR 145 million on healthcare
It has been almost impossible to follow all the covid-excused emergency spending of the government. Two things were obvious:
- The sums are even greater than the usual, run-of-the-mill government waste, and
- It was mostly on sport, sport, church, sport, church, sport, church.
Indeed, it was rare to hear that even a forint was wasted on healthcare during the pandemic, even though the underfunding of hospitals has been an emergency long before covid.
Mfor.hu now did us a favor and leafed through hundreds of paged of decrees issued by the government under their special self-empowerment due to covid. And the numbers confirm what headlines suggested: it was mostly on sport and churches.
And that was from the covid emergency fund, plus the emergency fund dedicated to mitigate the economic impact of the lockdowns.
The sum spent on sport was not only three times higher than the money spent on the actual health emergency – it was multiple times higher than what was spent on saving jobs and compensating for the economic impact of the lockdown.
To be fair, they spent more than the above sum on medical things. As politics wanted to play savior, the foreign minister was dispatched to buy respirators and protective equipment anywhere on the globe, no questions asked. The purchase of these things was somehow never clear and transparent – familiar owners kept propping up in companies that had never before dealt with healthcare, and the cost was not even considered.
In the end the ministry rapid-purchased 17 thousand respirators (according to them) at the average price of more than 56 thousand euros. For context, the European strategic reserves would only pay 15 thousand euros per respirator, making the Hungarian emergency procurement look a bit foolish – even before we take into account that there aren’t nearly enough trained nurses to operate the machines.