Four biggest Czech banks agree to join PM Babiš’s National Development Fund

The Czech government and the country's four largest commercial banks signed a memorandum of cooperation on Thursday to create a National Development Fund aimed at investing in projects in infrastructure, education and healthcare.

Prime Minister Andrej Babiš (ANO) had proposed creating such a fund back to counter appeals by his government partner, the Social Democrats, to introduce a bank sector tax.

Minister of Industry and Trade Karel Havlíček (for ANO) said on Thursday that the Fund should be working by mid-2020 and have initial financing of 7 billion crowns.

Česká spořitelna (owned by Erste Group), Komerční banka (owned by Société Générale), CSOB (owned by KBC) and UniCredit’s Czech branch signed the memorandum to take part in the fund.

Mr Babiš said he expected other companies, not just banks, to join later.

Author: Brian Kenety