The government of Bohuslav Sobotka has made a brisk start in business and economic areas, though some of the more difficult decisions have been postponed. A clean divide has been made with the previous centre-right government. While some personal prickliness is evident, major rifts have been controlled.
Data published by the Czech Statistics Office indicate that the choice of food imports to the Czech Republic is still directed mainly by price, with retail chains favouring competitive German, Polish and Slovak producers. Higher quality but less affordable Czech products are often left lying on the shelves.
Hungarian refinery giant MOL is about to seal a deal with AGIP to buy the Italian’s firm 124 petrol stations in the Czech Republic, the Czech daily Hospodářské Noviny reported. If the deal goes through, MOL will become the second biggest player on the Czech market. It could also spark further consolidation.
The Czech Republic has a fairly unique position in the European Internet world with local search engine company Seznam by most calculations dominating world leader Google. But one of the biggest players on the local e-commerce market warns that European Commission moves to curb Google’s dominance in Europe could backfire and worsen the situation on the Czech market.
Czech consumers can look forward to having more change in their pockets after shopping trips if reported plans for the phase in of three levels of Value Added Tax come true. A preliminary document outlining the changes has already been drawn up by the finance ministry but still needs to be approved by the government by the end of the month.
Squandering of public funds in ill-conceived investment projects has always been a big problem for Czech state administrations. Now the centre-left government is setting up a watchdog body which should assess the necessity for major investments and make sure that the money is spent according to plan.