Czech President Petr Pavel said on Wednesday he would sign a bill slowing down an inflation-linked pension hike, a bill the ruling coalition pushed through to relieve pressure on budget at the time of soaring inflation.
The centre-right government of Prime Minister Petr Fiala has said the bill would save around 20 billion crowns worth of spending in the central budget, currently planned with a 295 billion-crown deficit this year.
The change has to be implemented by late March in order to prevent the faster pension hike which would kick in automatically in June.
The bill is the government’s first tangible move to rein in the exploding budget deficit.
The central state budget showed a record gap of 119.7 billion crowns in the first two months of 2023, due to soaring welfare payments and energy price subsidies.
The pension adjustment bill was approved in a rushed procedure earlier in March and after a fight from opposition lawmakers.
The main opposition party said it will challenge it at the Constitutional Court if signed by the president.
The bill limits the rise in the average monthly pension to 750 crowns in June in the next round of hikes to be triggered by inflation.
That is instead of the 1,770 crowns dictated by current legislation which orders annual pension hikes as well as extraordinary adjustments when prices rise by 5%.
Inflation slowed down to 16.7% year-on-year in February. It is expected to ease to single-digit numbers in the second half of the year.