Finance Minister Andrej Babiš has reacted coolly to a call from mining company OKD, which has been in bankruptcy since May, for state aid for the Paskov mine in North Moravia. In a letter to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, OKD said it needed CZK 723 million to cover severance payments for employees and to wind down the mine. Mr. Babiš said his ministry did not envisage giving the company another state loan on top of the CZK 700 million it received earlier this year. The Paskov mine is due to close at the end of March.
Major outlets across the country reported a pre-Christmas spending spree with sales up by as much as 17 percent on normal over the weekend. Many retailers say spending far exceeded the amounts on the last weekend before Christmas in 2015. More money in people’s pockets is one reason for the spree, wages rose 4.0 percent in the third quarter, a figure last seen in 2009. But shoppers are also preparing for the fact that a new law will close large shops on December 25 and 26.
No less than three government ministers attended an international conference about the role and status of Czech family firms this week. As well as the conference itself, interest has been sparked by the anomalous position of family firms in the country amid new moves to give them a clearer and higher profile role as many face up to crucial decisions.
A new poll conducted by the Median agency for public broadcaster Czech Television suggests that 58 percent of the population supports the Finance Ministry’s flagship project, the electronic cash register system (EET). The system, which went online in the first of four planned phases on Dec 1, first affecting drinking and eating establishments and hotels and other accommodation, relays information electronically to the tax office as a means of clamping down on tax fraud. The system began working fairly smoothly, after month-long testing. Most venues
Prague police have made arrests in connection with the robbery of three luxury stores in the city in which some CZK 34 million worth of jewellery was taken. At a news conference on Monday the police said the men were members of two international gangs, one chiefly made up of citizens of the former Yugoslavia and the other mainly comprising people from the former USSR. Those arrested face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty.
Around 700 village pubs are reported to have closed down in connection with the introduction of a law on electronic cash registers at the start of December, the ctk news agency reports citing the results of a survey among the country’s 6,200 towns and cities. The pubs closing down generally offer beer, but not food, and serve as social hubs in small villages. The mayors of many small villages say they fear for the fate of small mixed shops which are often the only source of groceries for the locals. The introduction of electronic cash registers was the finance minister’s flagship project to curb tax evasion.
The Czech Republic and Iran are seeking ways to further increase their growing trade turnover. Following a meeting with the visiting Iranian Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia, Czech Industry and Trade Minister Jan Mladek said he would like to see bilateral trade increase tenfold in the near future. Czech exports to Iran increased by 46 percent in the first nine months of this year and bilateral trade is expected to get a new impetus with the signing of an agreement on protection of investments between the two countries scheduled to take place early next year. The Czech Republic has said it is ready to support Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization.
Around 500 people demonstrated in central Prague on Saturday against a freshly introduced system under which businesses’ sales are relayed to an online taxation database in real time. The Wenceslas Square gathering was organised by the Association of Entrepreneurs and Managers and two other groups. The association’s chairman,, described the system – the first part of which went into full effect on Thursday – as instrument of state despotism and spying on business people. Finance Minister Andrej Babiš says it will curb tax evasion.
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