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Gov’t plans to approve 2018 budget bill in two weeks

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Prague, Sept 11 (CTK) – The Czech centre-left government will deal with the 2018 state budget bill in two weeks when it plans to definitively approve it, the government’s spokesman Martin Ayrer wrote on Twitter during a cabinet meeting on Monday.

This result has been expected.

The government is to discuss the budget bill at the Tripartite Council meeting, at which its representatives meet those of the trade unions and employers, next Monday.

Before the meeting of their cabinet on Monday, the Social Democrats (CSSD), the ANO movement and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) agreed on a 15-percent pay rise for teachers and a 10-percent pay rise for other employees in the public sector as of November, thus meeting the demands set by the trade unions, which otherwise threatened to go on strike.

The union leaders announced that they would be on strike alert until the government definitely approves their demands.

CMKOS umbrella union leader Josef Stredula welcomed Monday’s agreement thanks to which the salaries of teachers, police officers, firefighters, medical workers, clerks and other groups are to go up.

Finance Minister Ivan Pilny (ANO) told CTK that the 10-percent pay rise as of November would also concern soldiers and members of security forces.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) said he presumed that the government would approve the pay rise by the end of the month.

The end of September is also the deadline for approving the budget for next year.

The coalition parties have not reached an agreement on an increase in the 2018 budget for universities yet.

The missing finances are be taken from the planned expenditures that individual ministries have not spent. The Finance Ministry said these reserves reached about 40 billion crowns.

The ministries on Monday promised to send one fourth of their reserves to the 2018 state budget. Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek (CSSD) said all ministers respected this agreement at the cabinet meeting on Monday.

The Finance Ministry has proposed a 2018 budget with a deficit projected at 50 billion crowns.

Compared with the 2018 state budget draft worked out in June, the Finance Ministry now increased the budget’s expenditures and revenues equally by 21 billion crowns. The ministry increased the revenues by raising the estimated economic growth from 2.9 percent to 3.1 percent and improving the expected tax incomes.

The Finance Ministry expects the state budgets in 2019 and 2018 to have 50 billion crown deficits as well.

By the end of September, the outgoing government is to send the 2018 draft state budget to the Chamber of Deputies, which will be dealing with the bill after the October general election that is to change its lineup.

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