Wednesday, 16 April 2014

New transport minister to lead merger with Industry Ministry

12 December 2012

Prague, Dec 11 (CTK) - Zbynek Stajnura, Civic Democrat (ODS) MP who is to become Czech transport minister, considers it his main task to prepare the merger of the Transport Ministry with the Industry and Trade Ministry, he told journalists yesterday.

The two ministries, that will be both controlled by the senior ruling ODS after Stanjura's appointment minister on Wednesday, are to merge in about a year and a half to form a single Economy Ministry.

Industry and Trade Minister Martin Kuba (ODS) said he will be commenting on the planned changes at the Transport Ministry, because it is his Industry and Trade Ministry that is to be the new single ministry's basis, with the Transport Ministry being added to it.

Nevertheless, for now the Transport Ministry will remain a full-fledged ministry, Kuba pointed out.

Stanjura said his goal will be to slim down the Transport Ministry's operational costs and prepare the ministry for its future merger with the Industry and Trade Ministry.

Before the two ministries merge, Stanjura wants to transform the Czech state Road and Motorways Authority into a joint-stock company, he said.

Stanjura also considers the possibility of transport construction projects no longer being financed from the State Fund of Transport Infrastructure but directly from the Transport Ministry's budget.

He said he also wants to solve the situation of the state Czech Rail company (CD) and the CD Cargo freight rail transport company that faces a fall in revenues and is expected to end in a loss of 230 million crowns this year.

Kuba told journalists that he views Necas's choice of Stanjura as a new minister very good. Kuba's "communication" with Stanjura has been problem free and Kuba will cooperate with Stanjura on the planned merger of their ministries, Kuba said.

Stanjura, too, said his relations with Kuba are good.

Kuba, head of the ODS South Bohemian branch, in the past came under criticism for his links to Pavel Dlouhy, one of the influential regional businessmen referred to as infamous Godfathers.

Nevertheless, at the ODS congress in early November, Kuba was comfortably elected ODS first deputy chairman and strengthened his influence in the party.

He said the goal of the ministries' planned merger must not be the emergence of a "super-ministry" but saving of personnel and money and also a joint strategic planning.

The plan, supposing the merger of the two ministries' particular departments, could save up to 30 percent of the personnel costs, Kuba said.

($1=19.517 crowns)

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