Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Radio Prague Today 11.21.2012

Articles posted today

OECD's Jens Arnold: raising VAT rates "lesser evil" for economic growth

The Czech economy has now been in recession for 15 months, which is the longest period since the late 1990s. The ongoing crisis in the eurozone, low household demand as well as the government's austerity measures are all considered to be the major factors behind the faltering economy. Last week, the Prague-based Banking Institute – College of Banking held a conference focusing on ways of restarting economic growth. One of the keynote speakers was Jens Arnold, a senior economist at the international economic organization OECD. He suggested that raising the VAT rates, as the Czech government did, would not be as detrimental to the GDP's growth as some Czech economists, and critics of the government believe. Mr Arnold also made a case for less restrictive policies in the services and labour sectors. I sat down with Jens Arnold and asked him how liberalization could help boost growth.

S-Card system to be revised

Cards issued under a new electronic system streamlining welfare and social benefit payments will – in the end – not be compulsory. The prime minister made the announcement on Tuesday, making clear the system – which has come under criticism from both non-governmental organisations and political circles – will be revised.

Millionth internet site with Czech .cz domain name registered

The Czech internet reached a significant milestone this week, when the one millionth website with the country domain name ending of .cz was registered. The announcement was made by CZ.NIC, the body that administers domain names in the Czech Republic. Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of sites ending in .cz – 58 percent – are owned not by firms but by individuals.