The Czech economy grew at a healthy pace, the country’s unemployment rate is at the lowest in decades, wage growth remained solid and inflation stayed under control. By most measures, 2019 was a good year for the country, former central bank governor Miroslav Singer says. But he cautions that while the Czech Republic has caught with some Western European countries in purchasing power, it has neglected investment in infrastructure for the long haul.
The Czech Republic will not be offering grants to students from developing
countries next year due to a cut in finances, Czech Radio reported on
In the years between 2013 and 2019 the country annually financed the studies of 130 students from the developing world at Czech universities, paying them 14 thousand crowns a month in addition to accommodation.
The program is being curtailed after the finance and foreign ministries failed to get an additional 13.5 million crowns to keep it going.
The 112 million earmarked for the project this year will only suffice to allow the students already here to conclude their studies.
Czechs will have to pay more for spirits and tobacco products in 2020.
Under a tax amendment approved by Parliament in December the excise tax on tobacco and cigarettes will go up by 10 percent in 2020, while that on spirits by 13 percent.
Certain forms of gambling will also see a tax increase from 23 to 25 percent.
While the ministry expects the price of a packet of cigarettes to rise by around five crowns next year, tobacco companies say consumers are likely to pay an extra 12 or 13 crowns.
The average Czech household spent 149,162 crowns per person last year,
according to figures released by the Czech Statistics Office. Consumer
spending, which includes spending on food, housing, holidays, health,
transport or education, increased by 3.4 percent year-on-year.
The biggest share of the family budget is spent on housing, the second biggest amount is spent on food. The cost of food and accommodation increased by more than seven percent last year.
The only expenditures that showed a year-on-year decline were postal and telecommunication services due to lower mobile and internet tariffs.
In his traditional Christmas message to the nation, President Miloš Zeman began as usual on a positive note – highlighting the country’s economic successes – before turning to what he views as problematic areas. In a 16-minute televised address otherwise void of religious symbolism, Zeman also branded himself a “climate heretic” and urged Czechs to think for themselves rather than follow “false prophets”.
Despite a growing economy and higher salaries, many Czechs are still taking loans to buy Christmas gifts for their nearest and dearest. According to a survey carried out by the Czech Banking Association, some seven percent of Czech consumers will borrow money to cover their seasonal expenses. What is more, around one-third of those are willing to take high-risk loans.
Czech Post will increase the price for some of its services as of January 1st and introduce dual-speed deliveries. The state-owned company, which is undergoing reorganization, has been criticized for late deliveries. As of next year it will offer clients the choice of paying more for guaranteed faster deliveries of mail and parcels, which should be delivered by the following day, or stick with the basic price in which case the delivery will take longer.
The Temelín nuclear power plant is southern Bohemia will be scaling down
production on both its blocks in the coming days due to scheduled
maintenance, the power utility ČEZ reported.
Operation on one will be reduced by ten percent, and the other will operate at half its capacity in order to enable safe maintenance. Both will remain connected to the grip and should return to full capacity by December 24th.
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