In a first reading, lawmakers in the Czech lower house on Tuesday backed a government bill proposing a full ban on smoking in all cafes, bars and restaurants. The opposition Civic Democrats as well as some members of the communist party came out against but were unable to derail the legislation. It will now be reviewed by Parliamentary committees.
The lower house of Parliament has approved a bill which would gradually raise consumer tax on cigarettes and tobacco products in the course of the next three years. The first hike would take place on January 1st 2016 and increase the price of a pack of cigarettes by three to four crowns. The increase in state revenues would amount to 3.3 billion crowns in 2016 and 1.5 billion in the following two years. The bill will now go to the Senate.
In Business News This Week: Czech economy grew by 4.4 percent in the second quarter of 2015; number of payment cards issued in country reaches 11.135 million; grain harvest down by 4.3 percent year-on-year; Czechs prefer Google Chrome over Internet Explorer; sale of illegal cigarettes in Czech Republic among lowest in EU.
An amendment proposing to raise excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products has passed through the lower house in its first reading. The first increase in excise tax is set to take place in January 2016, raising the price of a packet of cigarettes by three to four crowns. The price should rise further by one to two crowns in the following years. The amendment will be now assessed by the budget committee of the lower house.
The Czech Republic’s biggest tobacco company, employing around 1,000 at its main plant at Kutná Hora, upped its sales and profits for 2014. But its share on its Czech home market continued to slide under competition from cheap rivals and bootleg sales while it enjoyed greater success and a rising share of smokers in Slovakia.
In Business News this week: Study suggests grey economy equal to 15 percent of GDP; meat production up after over decade of decline; personnel agencies warn of huge shortfall in some specialists; VAT rise on cigarettes to kick in next month; and smart phones pass out classic mobiles on Czech market.
The anti-corruption police have charged six people with large-scale tax-evasion and fraud following a crack-down on a group of people involved in the sale of unlicensed alcohol and cigarettes. The tax-fraud involved fictitious sales to Slovakia, Poland and Hungary which resulted in losses of around 253 million crowns to state coffers. If convicted the suspects could face up to ten years in prison.
The Czech economy stagnated in the second quarter of this year compared to the previous quarter, according to figures by the Czech Statistics Office released on Thursday. Compared to the same period last year, the economy recorded a 2.6 percent growth. Most analysts expected a 0.3 growth in the second quarter but the statistics office said a drop in tobacco excise tax was behind the stagnation, with people massively stocking up on cigarettes and other tobacco products before the end of last year.