Business News

Ruzyne airport, photo: CTK
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In today's Business News: Czech living standards are improving, but many households are also struggling with debt; Czech uranium mines are looking to attract new investment; over one hundred thousand vehicles have already been registered in the new road-toll system, and this week's snowfall costs CSA millions of Czech crowns in lost sales.

Czech living standards increase, problems with debt also on the rise

A survey carried out by the Czech Statistical Office reveals that living standards have improved substantially in the Czech Republic, Hospodarske noviny reports. According to the poll, the number of households who held a privately owned flat rose to 18 percent in 2005, up from just two percent in the mid 1990s. The survey also found that one of the indicators of better living standards was an increased demand for electrical appliances. The number of households with personal computers, for instance, was 42 percent in 2005 up from two percent shortly after the Velvet Revolution. One downside of an increase in the standard of living appears and a concomitant rise in consumer spending appears to be that more people are facing financial problems. 20 percent of households reported that they found it difficult to repay loans and ten percent said they could not heat their homes properly due to a lack of funds.

Civil service clerks most likely to be corrupt say politicians and managers

A new poll of politicians and managers indicates that they feel clerks at Czech ministries and other central state offices take bribes most frequently. The poll conducted by research institute Donath Burston-Marsteller had asked 1200 elected politicians where corruption was most likely to be found in the Czech Republic. Besides believing that corruption is most likely among clerks in the civil service, the majority of respondents also felt that large Czech companies were to blame for the majority of bribes that are paid. Those polled agreed that corrupt practices were most widespread in the building industry and the awarding of public tenders. They also said that they thought the level of corruption in the country was the same as it had been in 2001.

Resurgence of interest in Czech uranium

Czech uranium has started to attract foreign investors again, despite recent plans to wind up uranium mining in the country. As energy demands around the world increase, global uranium prices have grown seven times over the past ten years. The Czech state-run uranium mine Diamo extracts 300 tonnes of uranium a year. It has now said it would like to find a partner who would invest over CZK 250 million in geological research to find new uranium deposits. Any potential expansion of uranium mining in the country would need government approval before it could go ahead.

110,000 lorries registered in road-toll system

The Czech Republic's new electronic road-toll system has so far registered around 110,000 lorries on Czech roads from about 50 countries to date, according to data from Austria's Kapsch firm, which operates the system. Domestic hauliers from the Czech Republic account for nearly half of all the lorries registered. The new system was introduced at the start of the year. Using electronic monitoring devices, it charges trucks and other vehicles over 12 tonnes in weight a charge according to how many kilometres they travel on Czech motorways. Around 316 million CZK or roughly fourteen and a half million US dollars have been raised by the tolls since January first.

Snow costs CSA 30 million CZK

Ruzyne airport, photo: CTK
The national air carrier Czech Airlines has said that the closure of Prague's Ruzyne airport due to heavy snow on Wednesday and Thursday cost it 30 million CZK or 1.3 million US dollar in lost sales. The air carrier had to cancel 98 flights because of the closed airport. Meanwhile a spokesperson for the airport said that it spent over one million CZK or 45,000 dollars removing more than 160,000 tonnes of snow. The inclement weather shut the airport down for a total of 30 hours, its longest closure in 15 years.