In Business News this week: the Labour Minister unveils plans to part-privatise the pension system; has the government started selling off shares in CEZ? The Finance Ministry predicts that next year's budget deficit will be below 3%; revenue from tourism rises in the first six months of this year; and Czech dairies have a tough time squaring up to foreign competition.
Labour minister unveils plans to part-privatise pension system
Such a system has already been implemented by governments in neighbouring Poland, Hungary and Slovakia. According to analysts, the scheme has been more popular than expected in these countries, placing a strain on the funding of state pensions. The opposition Social Democrats are against the government's plans.
Has the government started selling off shares in CEZ?
Finance Ministry: 2008 state deficit will be below key 3%
At the beginning of the week, the Finance Ministry estimated that next year's deficit in the state budget would be something in the region of 70.8 billion CZK (3.5 billion USD). The deficit should account for 2.95% of the budget, which falls within the 3% limit set by the Maastricht criteria for the adoption of the euro.
The 2008 deficit should be lower than it has been for the last couple of years, as it reflects the changes brought about by the government's reform package, passed by the Lower House in August. State expenditure should rise by 66.5 billion crowns, while income is expected to go up by about 87 billion crowns.
Rise in tourism revenues for the first six months of this year
In run-up to the Schengen zone, Czech government to spend 187 million crowns
The Czech government has announced that it will be spending 187 million CZK (9 million USD) on improving police radio communication systems as part of the country's preparations for entering the Schengen area. The Czech Republic will be joining the Schengen zone on 1st January 2008, a move which will result in the lifting of the country's border controls with other EU member states.