In Business News this week: the Czech public debt reaches a new high; Czechs buy less food, clothes and home appliances; Albania is set to withdraw ČEZ’s licence to operate in the country; up to 40 percent of retailers violate trade regulations during post-Christmas sales; and the popular Czech butter spread will undergo an EU-enforced name change by mid 2013.
In an effort to support the use of electric cars, the Czech state-owned
energy producer ČEZ has announced it will offer personal charging
and special electricity prices for electric car owners. The company’s
representatives believe that this year will be a groundbreaking year for
electric vehicles. Currently, ČEZ allows customers to charge their
vehicles at its 32 charging station around the country for a flat monthly
fee of 150 crowns.
Government wants to rework proposal on parties finances
The government has suspended deliberations on the proposal that would introduce an independent office that would oversee political parties’ finances. Parties have been unable to agree for a longer time whether it is preferable to introduce a new body in a time of budget cuts. Interior Minister Jan Kubice has been charged with reworking the proposal in a way that would introduce stricter measures for managing parties’ finances and would allow the public to have easier access to financing information.
The highest unemployment in the country at the end of last year was in the Ústí nad Labem region, according to figures released on Wednesday by the Labor and Social Affairs Ministry. The employment rate in this northern Bohemian region went up by 0.6% from November to reach 14% in December. Contributing factors to the worsening situation on the job market are cutbacks carried out by some of the major employers in the region.
The Czech government has approached international banks to gauge their interest in a new emission of government bonds, the Reuters news agency reported on Monday, quoting a London-based market source. It is not clear when the new emission could be put out, the report says. The Czech government last issued bonds in October which sold for nearly 70 billion crowns.
In the past weeks in the Czech business world: Almost 3700 businesses had to close in 2012; the state deficit for the last year was lower than the government had expected by 4 billion crowns; online stores had big profits in December thanks to Christmas shopping; the crown may will most likely take a hit in 2013; the Czech Telecommunication Office wants to help more mobile phone operators enter the local market.
Czech taxes on fuel are the highest among all other eastern European member states, according to a report by the consultancy firm European Energy Portal. In VAT and consumption tax, the Czech authorities levy 0.689 euro per liter of diesel which represents 48 percent of the total price. They collect 0.758 euro per liter of petrol, or 54 percent of its end price. An association of Czech entrepreneurs and transporters last year complained about the relatively high fuel taxes, and called on the government to lower them.
The number of both corporate and personal bankruptcies declared in 2012 rose by 46 percent compared to the previous year, according to figures by the company CCB. Nearly 3,700 firms went bankrupt last year; most of them were self-employed people registered as entrepreneurs. Some 60 percent of bankrupt firms were active in the services, trade and restaurant sectors. Meanwhile, nearly 17,000 personal bankruptcies were declared in 2012 which was the highest number since their introduction into Czech law in 2008.
With gloomy economic outlooks and continuing uncertainty on the job market Czechs are bracing for another tough year. In its determination to bring the deficit in public finances to below 3 percent of GDP in 2013 the centre-right Czech government recently pushed through a number of crucial reforms that will impact each and every citizen.
The Senate voted not to deliberate on a bill stipulating salaries for federal judges and tax regulations for lawmakers. The bill thus automatically passed through the upper house and will be going straight to the president to be signed into law. According to the bill, judges’ salaries will be calculated as 2.75 of the national average salary, instead of the current 2.5, as of 1 January. The monthly salary for a judge would thus come out to under 63,000 crowns. The legislation also exempts members of the parliament from paying health and social insurance on their salary bonuses. The bonuses will still be taxable.
The Czech Telecommunication Office is set to lower operator charges for mobile calls between different operators to a maximum of 41 hellers per minute, compared to the current 55 heller limit. In the middle of 2013 the upper limit should go down to 27 hellers. The decrease of the operator charge should lower the final cost of the calls, although that decision is up to the individual operators.
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