Business News

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In Business News this week: the number of Czechs with a private pension plan rises by almost ten percent to 3.6 million; the second phase of the Czech Republic's truck tolling system will mostly use satellite technology; Industry and Trade Minister Martin Riman wants to extend the mining limits for brown coal in two mines in north Bohemia; the Czech food production industry sees record sales last year, but is nevertheless in difficulties; and the number of Czechs buying a second home for recreational purposes is on the rise.

Third of Czechs now have private pension plan

The number of Czechs with a private pension plan grew by almost ten percent last year, reaching 3.6 million at the end of 2006, according to figures released by the Finance Ministry on Friday. That means one in three Czechs are now members of private pension schemes. Earlier this week it was reported that the Ministries of Labour and Finance are preparing an amendment to the law on private pensions - they want to raise clients' yields and attract more money to funds. There are ten pension funds in the Czech Republic, down from 44 when the private pension scheme was introduced in 1994.

Second phase of truck toll system to use mostly satellite technology

The Czech Republic's heavy vehicle tolling system will use 80 percent satellite and 20 percent microwave technology when its second phase - focused on principal roads - begins next year. The Austrian company which is running the system, Kapsch, wanted to use more microwave technology, something which the Czech Transport Ministry was against. Kapsch had envisaged building 200 new toll bridges - but the greater use of satellite technology means that only half that number will be built. Electronic tolling began on the Czech Republic's motorways and dual carriageways at the start of January.

Industry ministry wants to extend limits on brown coal mining in north Bohemia

Industry and Trade Minister Martin Riman said this week that he wants to extend the mining limits for brown coal in two mines in north Bohemia. The existing limits, introduced in 1991, were put in place to protect local communities. But Minister Riman said extending mining would not threaten any villages. His plan is likely to face opposition: the coalition government has pledged not to break existing mining limits.

Record sales for Czech food producers, but competition posing problems

The Czech food production industry may have seen record sales last year, but it is nevertheless in difficulties, Hospodarske noviny reported. The head of the Czech food producers' chamber told the daily that the sector has now been stagnating for three years - since accession to the European Union significantly increased competition. Industry figures say there are two possible solutions: more promotion of Czech food on the domestic market and a greater focusing of exports on countries to the east, such as Russia, Romania and Bulgaria.

More Czechs buying second flats for recreational purposes

Increasing numbers of Czechs are buying second properties for recreational purposes, according to research by Arllen Development and KPMG quoted in Hospodarske noviny this week. The greatest interest in holiday flats is in the Krkonose in north Bohemia and Sumava, in the south. But as well as getting away to the mountains, buyers of second properties are also choosing locations by lakes and golf courses, the paper said.