The Czech Labour Office has been cleared to take on around 600 new staff by the end of the year. Minister of Labour and Social Affairs Michaela Marksová has said many of the new staff will be directed to make sure that increasing social welfare payments are not being abused. State spending on emergency welfare payments rose by around a third last year to total more than 10 billion crowns. The ministry estimates that the extra checks could results in 5-10 percent savings on the budgets of some welfare payments.
The Czech Finance Ministry plans to issue bonds worth around 670 billion, of which over 192 billion would be used to cover the budget deficit for this and last year, according to a bill on a state bond programme published on the government's website, the Czech News Agency noted. The state budget deficit last year reached 81.3 billion. For this year it is planned to rise to 112 billion crowns. Under the bill, a total of 478.7 billion crowns from the bonds would be used to cover debts that will be due in 2015 and 2016. These include an issue of domestic bonds from 2005 and 2010, and a euro bond issue worth 300 million from 2009.
President Miloš Zeman and Finance Minister Andrej Babiš have stood up for Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitová who is under fire for declaring her official residence to be the tax haven of Monaco. Finance Minister Babiš said in an interview for idnes.cz that since the Czech tennis star generally plays abroad her tournament wins would not be taxed in the Czech Republic anyway. President Zeman noted that Kvitová’s decision was a common practice among world class tennis stars and that the Czech Republic should be proud to have such an ambassador. He said he would be happy to receive her at Prague Castle. Left-wing politicians have slammed Kvitová for the decision and suggested she should no longer play for the Czech Republic.
A special tax-evasion unit set up by the Czech Finance Ministry, has uncovered fraud worth 270 million crowns, the head of the Czech Tax Administration, Jiří Žežulka told reporters. Four men have been charged with tax evasion in the case; the men allegedly carried out fictitious sales of technology to offshore firms, and then applied for VAT reimbursement. The alleged fraud is the first case uncovered by the special unit, dubbed Kobra which was set up earlier this year and includes experts from the tax and customs administration and the police.
An audit at government ministries run by the Social Democrats has discovered suspicious deals worth around two billion crowns, Prime Minister and Social Democrat leader Bohuslav Sobotka told a news conference on Friday. Around half of the potentially wasted funds is related to several problematic IT deals of the Labour and Social Affairs Ministry. Mr Sobotka said the situation in the state administration was worse than expected, and blamed the problems on past Czech governments. The prime minister and his team has reviewed four ministries controlled by the Social Democrats; Mr Sobotka said that audits would continue. A review of six ministries controlled by the ANO party earlier this year found suspicious deals worth 16 billion crowns.
She won the Wimbledon tennis singles title for the second time just one week ago. But now the Czech tennis star and current world number 4 Petra Kvitová is facing criticism for an alleged lack of patriotism stemming from the fact that for tax purposes, she is registered as a resident of the tiny southern European principality of Monaco.
Czech 15-year-olds ranked sixth in the first international test of students’ financial literacy by the OECD, according to the results released by the international organization this week. Around 29,000 students from 18 countries took part in the survey which assessed their skills in dealing with financial issues. The Czech Republic ranked second best of the post-communist nations, after Estonia, outranking countries like the US, France, and Russia.
The Czech unemployment rate slipped by 0.1 of a percentage point to 7.4 percent in June, the national labour office announced on Tuesday. The overall total of those without work still stands above half a million at just over 537,000. The latest fall is said to be largely due to recruitment for summer jobs and the ongoing recovery in the economy. The unemployment total has been dropping consistently since January.
The head of the Energy Regulatory Office Alena Vitásková has criticized the government-proposed amendment to the energy law. At a press briefing in Prague on Monday Ms. Vitásková said that the law should guarantee fair and equal rights to all players on the energy scene, noting that in its present form the draft law would create a privileged space for monopoly producers and distributers and disadvantage consumers. The Industry and Trade Ministry which drafted the amendment has not so far responded to the criticism.
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