Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka called on ministries Wednesday to publish all deals and agreements whose value is higher than 50,000 crowns. Sobotka said the government’s central office had urged the step at the start of the year but the response from ministries to toe the line has varied greatly. The prime minister’s moves come as moves to create a central registry of government agreements and deals enters a final phase. The target is for the registry to be approved during the first half of this year. Sobotka’s latest call sparked a sharp reaction from ANO leader and Minister of Finance Andrej Babiš who claimed that his ministry had called in February for others to follow its example on the format publishing details of deals. The move, as well as the register of agreements, is aimed at making the working of government more transparent and reducing the possibilities for corruption.
A new concept in the banking and loans market is starting to make an impact in the Czech Republic – business to business loans which largely sideline the traditional banks. New companies, boasting much lower costs than banks, have been created as matchmakers to help bring together the cash rich and credit poor.
Real estate agencies are reported to be buying up property in the towns of Horní Jiřetín and Černice which may have to give way to mining if mining limits on brown coal imposed in the early 1990s are relaxed. According to Czech Television two real estate agencies –Double B and Double Pro – have invested tens of millions of crowns into the speculative purchases. City planning authorities in the two towns have confirmed that the said real estate agencies had acquired close to a third of the houses in Horní Jiřetín and Černice in view of making huge profit if the towns are slated for demolition. A decision on whether to relax the limits is expected in the spring.
Profit making Komerční banka, one of the largest Czech banks, will aid its French mother bank Societé Generale with seven billion crowns in 2015, Czech Television reported on Saturday. Two other profit making banks Česká Spořitelna and ČSOB are also expected to assist their mother companies. Together the three largest Czech banking institutions generated a profit of 41 billion crowns last year. This is seen as a sign of the stability of the Czech baking sector.
The Czech economy grew by 1.5 percent year on year in the fourth quarter of last year, faster than the preliminary estimate of a 1.3 percent growth released two weeks ago, the Czech Statistics Office announced on Friday. It also confirmed a 2 percent GDP growth for the whole of 2014. Economic growth in the fourth quarter was driven by exports as well as domestic demand. Household consumption rose by 2 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter and by 1.2 percent against the previous quarter. Growth was also supported by the manufacturing industry, in particular the production of motor vehicles and machinery. In the area of services, a significant growth was registered by transport, trade, real estate activities and public administration.
Prague has again delayed the opening of the Blanka tunnel, this time indefinitely. The long-planned launch had been set for April. Cables damaged by heavy rains last year and damp must be replaced, Deputy Mayor Petr Dolínek told reporters on Thursday. However, the number of cables that have to be replaced, the time frame and the cost are not yet clear, Mr. Dolínek said. The tunnel, which has cost the city around CZK 37 billion to date, was originally meant to be completed in 2011. Since then a number of launch dates have been announced and not met.
The right-of-centre Civic Democrats have called on the upper house of Parliament to back a proposal for Czechs to decide in a referendum whether or not the country should adopt the European currency. The opposition party says the conditions for adopting the euro and joining the Eurozone are markedly different from when the Czech Republic first joined the EU in 2004. Euro MP Jan Zahradil was one of the initiators of a petition with 40,000 signatures which brought the issue to the Senate and its National Economic Committee. The committee has stressed that it is essential that adoption of the currency be advantageous for the country. The ruling centre-left coalition enjoys a majority in the upper house; the government and the president are in favour of adopting the euro. President Zeman said last year he hoped it would happen within the next five years.
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