Unemployment in the Czech Republic rose to 2.9 percent in December, up from
2.6 percent in November, according to data released by the Czech Labour
Office on Thursday.
Despite the rise, it is the lowest figure for the period of December since 1996. According to the statistics, there are currently 215,500 people seeking employment.
The lowest unemployment rate was in Prague, with 1.9 percent, while the highest number of unemployed, 4.4 percent, was registered in the region of Moravia-Silesia.
Municipalities across the Czech Republic could raise more money if local
councillors are given the ability to specifically tax properties located on
industrial zones, according to the Ministry of Finance, which is working on
the legislation. Currently, Czech municipalities are able to raise only a
fraction of what their counterparts in Germany raise through this specific
tax, according to a developer commissioned analysis. Finance Minister Alena
Schillerová (ANO) believes that if local councils are given the chance to
tax these specific properties, without targeting residents. She told Czech
Television that the specific amount of the increase is still negotiable.
The Association of Towns and Municipalities has been arguing that more money from the state budget should be allocated to these areas of administration, because, in the words of the director of the association, they are shown to be very good managers. However, the finance minister says she is not willing to make changes in budget allocations.
Total tax revenues excluding social security insurance rose by 5.4 percent
last year to 1.075 trillion crowns, the Ministry of Finance said. Collected
revenue was about 12 billion crowns lower than planned.
The Ministry of Finance anticipates even higher revenues in 2020. In part, this stems from 10 percent higher taxes on alcohol, tobacco and gambling, which should increase state revenues by about 10 billion crowns.
The aim is to keep the budget deficit at 40 billion crowns or 0.7 percent of economic output.
The fiscal year 2019 ended with a 28.5 billion crown deficit, Finance
Minister Alena Schillerová told reporters at a press briefing in Prague on
Friday. The 2019 state budget was projected with a 40 billion crown
deficit. Although it was narrowed by 11.5 billion, the deficit is still the
highest since 2015.
Opposition parties have criticized the result, arguing that there is no justification for a deficit budget at a time of solid economic growth. They moreover criticize the fact that large sums are spent on the social sphere rather than on investments.
The 2018 budget ended on a surplus of 2.9 billion, despite the projected 50 billion crown deficit.
The Czech economy grew at a healthy pace, the country’s unemployment rate is at the lowest in decades, wage growth remained solid and inflation stayed under control. By most measures, 2019 was a good year for the country, former central bank governor Miroslav Singer says. But he cautions that while the Czech Republic has caught with some Western European countries in purchasing power, it has neglected investment in infrastructure for the long haul.
The Czech Republic will not be offering grants to students from developing
countries next year due to a cut in finances, Czech Radio reported on
In the years between 2013 and 2019 the country annually financed the studies of 130 students from the developing world at Czech universities, paying them 14 thousand crowns a month in addition to accommodation.
The program is being curtailed after the finance and foreign ministries failed to get an additional 13.5 million crowns to keep it going.
The 112 million earmarked for the project this year will only suffice to allow the students already here to conclude their studies.
Czechs will have to pay more for spirits and tobacco products in 2020.
Under a tax amendment approved by Parliament in December the excise tax on tobacco and cigarettes will go up by 10 percent in 2020, while that on spirits by 13 percent.
Certain forms of gambling will also see a tax increase from 23 to 25 percent.
While the ministry expects the price of a packet of cigarettes to rise by around five crowns next year, tobacco companies say consumers are likely to pay an extra 12 or 13 crowns.
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