The Australian mining company European Metals Holdings (EMH) Limited has
reached a conditional agreement with the Czech energy company ČEZ Group
regarding a strategic partnership as well as large investment into a
lithium mining project around Cínovec in the North West of the country,
the Czech News Agency reports quoting a Wednesday statement by EMH. If the
agreement passes a due diligence check and is approved by shareholders it
will mean that ČEZ will pay EUR 34.06 million to receive a 51 percent
share in Geodet, a subsidiary of EMH, which possesses the rights to mine in
Lithium, a key component of electric car batteries, is sometimes referred to as the “metal of the future”. The Czech Republic is estimated to possess 3 percent of the world’s lithium reserves and the deposit around Cínovec is the largest in Europe.
The question of who owned the country’s lithium reserves was one of the key issues in the last general election in the Czech Republic. The Czech government is the majority owner of ČEZ.
Czech farmers say that sales of eight major agricultural commodities should
rise by almost CZK 2 billion this year to reach over CZK 90 billion. More
cereals and potatoes have been harvested this year but the rape crop was
down on 2018.
The Agricultural Association of the Czech Republic said the overall sales figure for this year should be above the average recorded since the year 2000.
The Czech government has followed the example of other European countries in approving a digital tax on Internet giants such as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. The proposed 7 percent tax on services provided in the Czech Republic should bring in approximately 5 billion crowns of additional revenue a year.
The EU has given final approval to a proposal that will allow member states
that have a problem with carousel tax fraud to apply a generalized reversal
of VAT liability.
This is something Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš has fought for for four and a half years on the argument that use of reverse charge could save the country around 80 billion crowns lost every year in unpaid VAT.
However Finance Minister Alena Schillerová said on Friday that it will take almost a year to get the respective legislation in place so that the ministry can introduce a generalized reversal of VAT liability in this country.
The EU member states who choose to do so will be able to use the generalized reverse charge mechanism only for domestic supplies of goods and services above a threshold of 17, 500 euros (around 450,000 crowns) per transaction and only up until June 30, 2022, when the outcome of the exemption will be reviewed.
The Czech governing coalition pushed a tax package through the lower house on Wednesday that will increase the price of tobacco, hard liquor and gambling as well as levelling a one-off tax on insurer’s reserves. The opposition, which vehemently opposed the effort, has slammed the ruling coalition for breaking its promise not to raise taxes.
The lower house of Parliament is expected to approve a government tax
package at its session starting on Tuesday. It includes a proposal to raise
taxes on alcohol and tobacco products, and an increase in parental
The basic parental allowance could rise from 80,000 crowns to 300,000 crowns. MPs are also due to start discuss the draft state budget for 2020, which counts on a 40 billion crown deficit.
In the initial round, MPs will approve the budget’s basic parameters, i.e. revenue, expenditure and deficit. MPs have tabled dozens of amendments to the tax package, only some of which the Committee on Budgets has supported thus far.
On Friday, Prime Minister Andrei Babiš (ANO) and Communist party leader Vojtěch Filip agreed to allocate an additional 4.9 billion crowns for the health sector. Originally, 334 billion crowns was earmarked for the sector.
The ANO-appointed minister of finance, Alena Schillerová, says that if the
Social Democrats put forward a special tax on the banking sector it would
be in breach of the coalition agreement.
The latter party’s minister for labour and social affairs, Jana Maláčová, said last week that she would submit a bill on a banks tax herself if no agreement was reached with ANO on the matter.
Speaking on Czech Television on Sunday, Minster Schillerová said if her cabinet colleague actually put forward legislation to that effect it could spell the end of the coalition government.
Ms. Maláčová argues that Czech banks are making record profits.
The Czech Banking Association says 15 EU states have a bank sector tax.
Czech utility ČEZ plans to sell its Počerady coal-fired power plant to
Se.ven Energy financier Pavel Tykač when an option comes available at the
end this year and shut down most of its coal resources by 2040.
Vršanská uhelná, part of the Se.ven Energy holding, should start operating the plant as of 2024. The company entered into 50-year contract with ČEZ in 2013 to supply coal to the power plant, which included two options to sell it.
Tykač set up the Se.ven Energy holding company with the aim of investing more than 1 billion euros power plants fired by fossil fuels, even as utilities shift to renewables.
In 2017, Tykač was to offer 10 billion crowns for the Počerady plant, but the supervisory board of state-controlled ČEZ rejected the sale. Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO), then minister of finance, also opposed the sale.