President Zeman has fully met his financial obligations stemming from the presidential election campaign, the head of his office Vratislav Mynář told journalists on Friday. The president covered the final expenditures this week, thanks to a financial gift from the party of Citizens’ Rights which he set up and of which he is honorary chairman. The 35,000 crowns left on his campaign account will reportedly go to a children’s charity. In line with a new law on direct presidential elections, all candidates in the running had to have a transparent account.
In Business News this week: Russia’s Rosneft signs deal to deliver crude oil to Czech Republic; political instability could delay announcement of Temelín tender winner; poll suggest only quarter of Czech businesspeople want euro; domestic banks “stable and resilient” says CNB; and truck-maker Avia to close Czech factory.
According to the internet daily E15 the head of the Czech energy company ČEZ, Daniel Beneš, and the head of Czech Railways, Petr Žaluda, actively assisted the practice of securing bribes for politicians. The police are reported to have tapped their phone conversations with the prime minister’s chief of staff Jana Nagyova, some of which are directly related to the corruption scandal surrounding three former Civic Democrat MPs. The police is also reported to have raided the home of Tomas Jindra, advisor to Trade Minister Martin Kuba and Agriculture Minister Petr Bendl, both from the Civic Democratic Party.
Banks in the Czech Republic are in good health and should remain resilient to shocks the Czech Central Bank said on Tuesday after conducting regular stress tests. The stability of Czech banks would not be endangered even in the event of a deepening recession, the report says. The pension funds sector remains sensitive to price fluctuations of the securities they hold, but an increase in capital in the course of 2012 has strengthened its resilience in comparison with the previous year. On financial markets, the Central Bank points out certain risks in connection with pursuit of profit.
In Business News: a major investigation reaching into the upper echelons of government will not negatively impact markets say analysts; the Agriculture Ministry revises the damage figure to the sector from recent floods; the Czech Republic moves up seven notches on KPMG’s VAT list; Czech companies could provide amphibious vehicles for Libya, E15 reports; the TOP 100 association releases its list of top Czech exporters last year.
The Czech Republic has moved up by seven notches to 14th place in KPMG’s global chart of VAT rates. This is due to an increase in the basic VAT rate to 21 percent in January of this year, while the average global basic VAT rate is 15.55 percent. The European average VAT rate is 20.5 percent. The tax burden on Czechs is thus higher than the global, as well as European average.
The government has set aside an additional 557 million crowns for flood relief, bringing the total amount pledged to deal with damage in areas and ensuing clean-up operations to 7.3 billion. Insurance companies have registered 30,000 insurance claims amounting to almost four billion crowns to date; the agriculture sector, meanwhile, suffered damages of more than 3.5 billion in the recent floods which hit a number of regions in Bohemia.
Regions in the Czech Republic recently hit by floods have begun tabulating the damage costs. So far, damage to infrastructure and property across 25 municipalities in Plzeň has been estimated at 47.9 million crowns. The figure, however, is preliminary and appears likely to go up. Municipalities have also begun filing for financial relief so far counting 3.7 million. Beroun, not far from the capital, has been tabulating the damage to roads and bike paths, so far estimated at 30 million crowns. The overall figure for total damages there, however, is expected to increase considerably: between 200 and 300 million. Fifty million crowns, meanwhile, is being drawn by the region of Ústí in north Bohemia to be used for clean-up operations and repairs. The figure is not final: the regional governor pointed out it was around a ‘seventh’ of total funds which will be required.
In related news, local employment bureaux have issued approximately 1,280 relief payments to families in areas struck by floods; hundreds of unemployed people also volunteered to help in clean up operations. The news was revealed on Wednesday by the spokesman for the central employment office Jiří Reichl. People whose property was lost or badly damaged in the recent floods can apply for immediate help of up to 51,150 crowns. The spokesman noted that a number of towns and villages had signed agreements with employment bureaux covering publically-beneficial work.
The state-owned power utility CEZ is to waive three monthly bills for households hit by over half a metre of flooding, its director, Daniel Beneš, said on Tuesday. Homes where flood waters were less than half a metre will not be charged for one month’s power, he said. The prime minister, Petr Nečas, described the gesture as a sign of social responsibility and called on other power suppliers to make a similar gesture.
Beijing ends agreement with Prague – but can spat harm Czech capital?
Czechia now ahead of Spain in GDP per capita, but still below EU average
Czechs observe day of mourning for pop idol Karel Gott
Rare Terezín concentration camp artefacts found in attic of private home
Thousands pay tribute to deceased national pop icon Karel Gott