Ministry of Industry and Trade Jan Mládek sees Czech economic growth this year at 3.5 percent, that’s a slight drop from the 4.5 percent expected this year. One of the reasons for the slowdown will be diminished pumping of EU funds which probably contributed one percentage point to growth this year.
In line with a government proposal approved by Parliament late last year the country’s close to 3 million pensioners will be paid out a one-off bonus of 1,200 crowns in February to make up for the low valorization of pensions in 2016. Following lengthy disputes on the issue in the lower house, the government now says it wants to be able to increase pensions without Parliament’s consent in the future.
Twenty-five years ago, on New Years Day, Czechs experienced a shock transition from communist planning to a market economy. The post-communist government of prime minister Petr Pithart launched a price deregulation sending the price of goods up several fold overnight. Since then prices have increased on average 5 times but a faster growth in wages means that Czechs are enjoying a much higher living standard than before the fall of communism. The daily Mladá fronta Dnes recalls this economic milestone in its Wednesday edition.
The Czech Republic has long had ambitions to be out there with the pioneers in e-government; linking up ministries and regional authorities and allowing citizens to transact more of their business over the computer rather than at office counters. But the roll out of those ambitions have hit many obstacles and some of these were highlighted on Monday in a report by the country’s public spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office.