"Big Bang" project to increase GDP by more than 6%

16-02-2001

The Czech Ministry of Trade and Industry has come up with an ambitious new plan to boost Czech economy, which it says will increase GDP by more than 6%. The only cause for concern, however, is that it needs investment amounting to about half of the country's state budget. Dita Asiedu has the details:

Trade and Industry Minister Miroslav Gregr says he does not want the Czech Republic to have to beg for money when it becomes a member of the European Union. He has therefore come up with a rather ambitious plan to boost his country's economy over the coming years. The 264 billion Czech crowns - about 7 billion US Dollars - that Mr Gregr needs is to come from the state budget, revenues from privatisation, the banking sector and from issuing state bonds. The investment is meant to revive the economies of 13 specially-selected regions - Mr Gregr says, if all goes well, this will reduce unemployment in these poorer areas and increase the purchasing power of all Czech citizens. But will it work? Radomir Jac is an economic analyst for the Czech branch of the German bank Commerzbank.

Although many would share his scepticism to what the Ministry calls the "Big Bang" project, there are others who believe that the Trade and Industry Ministry's plan could work. Similar approaches to revive the economy have been adopted in other countries, so why not the Czech Republic? Well, Minister Gregr needs to get the green light from the government before he can light the fuse, and so we'll just have to wait and see whether Mr Gregr's plan turns out to be a big bang or a damp squib.

16-02-2001