The national deficit of the Czech Republic has grown by nearly one billion crowns since the start of this year. Data from the first quarter of 2009 released by the Ministry of Finance puts the country’s deficit at one trillion Czech crowns, or 96,000 crowns per citizen. The ministry has also raised the amount it expects to borrow this year. While the state deficit management and financing strategy from December estimated loans of nearly 150 billion for 2009, the amount now required due to the global financial crisis is expected to equal some 280 billion crowns.
According to the Prague-based Liberal Institute this year’s Tax Freedom Day in the Czech Republic falls on June 13th. Tax Freedom Day is the day in the year when the average Czech has earned enough to pay his annual tax bill. This means that people’s entire earnings in the first 163 days of the year will go to support government expenditures, anything earned after that is theirs alone. The day on which it falls this year reflects the economic crisis, last year it was on June 7th. The OECD average this year is June 11th.
Czech unemployment stabilized at 7.9 percent in May, the same rate as in April according to figures released by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs on Monday. A year earlier the unemployment rate was 5.0 percent. Analysts had expected the number of jobless seeking work to creep up to 8.0 percent. The ministry said the slowdown in the recent surge in joblessness was partly due to the start of seasonal work.
There was a 60-percent year-on-year rise in the number of bankruptcies in the Czech Republic in the first quarter of 2009, according to a study carried out by Cribis, a company which operates in the field of credit banking information. Around half of the 700 bankruptcies reported concerned individuals.
The Finance Ministry will raise its stake in national air carrier Czech Airlines (ČSA) ahead of its privatisation as the Slovak National Property Fund and the city of Bratislava are selling their stakes in the company, the daily Hospodařské noviny reported on Wednesday. A contract with the Slovak National Property Fund, which holds 0.24 percent in ČSA, has already been prepared for approval by ČSA's board of directors. The ministry has decided to use its first-option right to 613 out of the 670 offered shares.
In related news, the ČEZ company is going to pay some 300 million crowns,
or around 15.7 million US dollars, to several municipalities in the
vicinity of the Temelín nuclear power plant in southern Bohemia. The sum
will be distributed among five villages and towns and used to improve
ČEZ is planning to complete another two blocks at the Temelín power plant; if approved by the government, the new blocks will be built on land owned by the municipality of Temelín. The village will receive 100 million crowns, or more than 5 million US dollars, although ČEZ management denied any direct link between the subsidy and the plans to build two new blocks.
The Czech energy giant ČEZ is going to take part in the construction of a new block at the Slovak nuclear power plant of Jaslovské Bohunice. The Czech energy producer signed an agreement with a Slovak partner company towards that end in Prague on Thursday. Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed. The ČEZ energy producer is also planning to build two new blocks at the Czech nuclear power plant in Temelín, southern Bohemia, and another two at a plant in Romania.
The former Czech finance minister, Miroslav Kalousek, said on Thursday he was leaving his party, the Christian Democrats, over arguments on party policies and repeated insults by other Christian Democrats. Mr Kalousek’s statement, published on the party website, appeared just hours before the start of a Christian Democrat party conference that will elect a new leader. Mr Kalousek, who served as finance minister in the centre-right government of PM Mirek Topolánek, announced earlier he planned to form a new political party to run in the autumn’s early general election.
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