Two of the three main Czech telecommunications operators, Telefonica and Vodafone, will together layoff some 700 employees, according to Czech business website iHned. All three mobile phone network operators in the Czech Republic, which also includes T-Mobile, have faced worsening conditions and a long-term drop in profits. At the same time, the firms have been forced to invest billions of crowns in the next generation mobile phone network. According to the website, Vodafone, the third-largest operator on the Czech market, will let go around 11 percent of its 1,800 employees, continuing in lay-offs from last year. T-Mobile, which let go several hundred people in 2013, confirmed it would lay-off several dozen people this year.
The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of the Interior are setting up a special group to combat tax evasion, Czech Television reported. The permanent team should be capable of taking swift action, particularly with regard to VAT and consumer tax evasion, the station said. The group, which has the working title National Tax Criminal Agency, will act on information received from a Ministry of Finance analytical unit and would consist of financial administration, police and customs officials.
Plans to build two more reactors at the Temelin nuclear power plant in south Bohemia are looking increasingly unlikely be realized. Incoming prime minister Bohuslav Sobotka said in an interview this week that his government would not offer guarantees on the purchase price of electricity from the new reactors which alone would make the estimated $15 billion project economically feasible.
The anti-corruption unit of the Czech police on Wednesday raided the Prague headquarters of the state-owned Czech Export Bank and the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation. The police have not disclosed any details of the operation; however, the news website idnes.cz reported the police were gathering evidence related to suspicious loans and guarantees for Czech firms exporting to Russia. A spokeswoman for the Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation said the officers were interested in 15 older cases including the financing of a glass works in Russia. The police also raided the premises of the companies PSJ Jihlava and Sklostroj in Turnov later on Wednesday.
A wave of statistics released Thursday represented mixed economic news for Czechs. November’s unemployment rose to 8.2% from October’s 7.7% with the jobless total now hovering just under 600,000. Using previous methods of calculation, the latest figures could represent the high ever jobless figure in recent Czech history at 10.3%. Higher food prices helped push up inflation to 1.4% in December from November’s 1.1%. On the brighter side, industrial production surged ahead with a 6.2% spurt in November. That is almost twice the rise of the previous month.
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