Meeting with the Sub-Committee on Audit of German Bundestag
The Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, Tamaz Mechiauri, the Committee members, the representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Audit Service held the meeting with the Sub-Committee on Audit of German Bundestag. The parties discussed specifics of the Committee and the issues requiring exchange of experience. The Deputy-Chair, Nodar Ebanoidze spoke about the aim and importance of the meeting and noted that “the meeting was very interesting, planned to allow the Committee, working group, the Finance Ministry and Audit Service expressing their opinions on some issues”.
The recommendations issued by German colleagues are very important. The parties spoke about efficiency of budgetary sum consumption and more transparency and considered the recommendations by AS in terms of budget implementation and state debt.
As the Deputy-Finance Minister, Giorgi Kakauridze noted, the Ministry cooperates with the AS. “The greater part of the recommendations is already implemented and we will jointly work on the rest of them. The Action Plan is endorsed by the Government envisaging the term and the methods of implementation of the recommendations”.
The visit of the German MPs covers Georgia and Armenia, the countries implementing GIZ program. Tomorrow, the Delegation along with the representatives of the Ministry of Finance and the State Audit Service, will attend the Committee sitting to hear the reports on efficiency of Audit Service
Statement by the Administration of the Government
Over the past few days, business and banking sector representatives and citizens alike have expressed their readiness to engage in the program for restoring the forest burned following the recent devastating wildfire in the Borjomi Gorge, with several social campaigns already in full swing.
To sustain this commendable spirit among our citizens, and to consolidate and coordinate resources, the Administration of the Government will facilitate a unified e-platform to reflect all activities and initiatives under the program for the Borjomi forest restoration.
In addition, the Finance Ministry's Treasury Service has opened special bank accounts in both national and foreign currencies in order to finance firefighting operations and to restore the forest in the Borjomi Gorge.
Said e-portal will enable us to ensure the openness and transparency of deposit and expenditure operations, so that every citizen may trace the spending of each tetri donated by them for the restoration of the forest in the Borjomi Gorge.
Individuals, private sector and business representatives, and our compatriots abroad alike can donate money and deposit sums into the accounts listed below.
The Agrarian Issues Committee supported the document for ratification
The Committee considered the Change N1 to the Grant Agreement between Georgia and USA of December 22, 2015 on Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth.
The Deputy-Finance Minister, Giorgi Kakauridze spoke about the changes. As noted, the project aims at improvement of economic management and administration, establishment of global business standards, increase of competitiveness in target sectors, effective management of natural resources of Georgia and creation of market-oriented job opportunities.
The change envisages increase of the allocation by USAID with 13.1 ml USD. The total allocation constitutes 57,298,636 USD. The grant amount also increases with 14 ml. 970 k. USD.
The project directions remain unchanged: conflict mitigation and reconciliation; education; infrastructure; agriculture; private sector competitiveness and environment. The grant for agricultural activities has increased with 700 000 USD to constitute 3 ml. 260 k. USD. The Committee supported the document.
The Committee considered and endorsed the supervisory plan of the spring session, envisaging hearing information about various agricultural activities and respective decision-making.
The Plenary Session of the Parliament
MPs supported the draft Resolution on Set up of the State Constitutional Commission and Endorsement of the Provisions of the State Constitutional Commission. The Chairman, Irakli Kobakhidze spoke about the principles, objectives, composition, structure and activity rule of the SCC. The primary task is to improve the Constitution. “We shall show that we have the political will to ensure full compliance of the Constitution with the fundamental principles of the Constitutional Law and establishment of the Constitutional system respective to the long-term democratic development interests. I believe that we have the resource to achieve consensus between the subjects”.
The Commission will be composed of the Chairman of Parliament, chairing the Commission, the each representative from the parties independently participating in the Parliamentary elections and the leading position parties of the blocs failing to overcome the threshold but obtained at least 3% of votes; 2 representatives of the President, 2 representatives of the Government, Chair of the Constitutional Court, Chair of the Supreme Court, Heads of the representative and executive bodies of Adjara and Abhazia AR, Public Defender, Auditor General, Secretary of the National Security Council, exports and NGOs. The draft envisages maximal involvement of all the subjects. The SCC will also cooperate with the Venice Commission.
MPs considered sundry drafts introduced by the Deputy-Finance Minister, Lasha Khutsishvili, including the Convention between Georgia and Liechtenstein on Prevention of Double Taxation of Income and Capital and Elimination of Non-Payment. The Deputy-Finance Minister, Giorgi Kakauridze introduced the draft resolution between EBRD and Georgia on Loan Agreement on Tbilisi School Rehabilitation and Energy Efficiency covering 25 public schools in Tbilisi.
The Loan Agreement between Georgia and EBRD on Solid Waste Management envisages purchase of waste collection vehicles and containers with 10 ml EURO credit and 2 ml EURO grant. MPs supported the documents.
MPs considered the draft State Budget 2017 and the draft on Tax Code with the I reading. The changes envisage definition of the calendar month instead of the calendar year for calculation of taxation of income/profit of the person in case of e-bet system. VAT taxation time is defined as no later than advance payment date of the compensation amount if payment takes place prior to provision of goods/service. The draft redefines taxation transaction time in case of provision of real property. The excise fee on tobacco and oil, as well as some vehicles is to be increased. The draft envisages property tax on the vehicle if annual income of the owner exceeds 40 thousand GEL. The vehicle taxation will take place in the transitional period if the transportation of the vehicle started no later than December 1, 2016.
The draft on Budget Code envisages increase of the plan upon planning the tax incomes of the budget by municipalities. The Article is to be added to the Code defining the rule of disposal of the projects implemented in municipalities on autonomous territories. The change envisages Akhalgori, Kurta, Erdvi, Tigvi and Azhara municipalities equalization transfer calculation rule to be defined under the annual law on State Budget.
The draft on Gambling Business Fees envisages increase of fee rate for gambling in the events of: on each casino table, game machine, system-electronic game, club table, gambling and/or profitable game license object and gambling/profitable game cash desk.
The organic law on Municipal Code envisages the municipalities in case of planning the healthcare-related events within annual budget, to communicate the program directions with the Ministry of Labor, Health and Social Protection. The municipalities shall be entitled to establish non-commercial legal entity or become the member thereof in view of coordination of activity.
MPs considered with the I reading the draft by Eka Beselia and Giorgi Kakhaini on organic law on National Bank of Georgia. The draft envisages appointment and dismissal of the Vice-Presidents with nomination of the President of NB by the Council of the NB instead of the President of Georgia and the salary of the member of the NB Council and the Agency Council shall be defined by the Parliament.
The Education, Science and Culture Committee initiate the changes to the law on General Law. The Chair of the Committee, Mariam Jashi stated that the draft entitles the Ministry of Education to define the types of schools taking the rule of financing and management, structural units, academic plan, state control and human resource requirements into account. The draft envisages distance education form in schools. The Government is entitled to endorse the rule and terms of financing of school within the respective target program serving the basis for the Ministry to implement financing. The Ministry is empowered to make the decision with consent of the Government in case envisaged under the rule of classification of the textbooks on classification of the books.
M. Jashi introduced with the I reading the draft on Grants, envisaging the LEPL defined by the Government to be the grant issuer (donor), aiming to issue grants for improvement of education quality as well as issue grants to facilitate integration of national minorities and highland residents. The grant recipient can be the foreign citizen, in view of grant competition called by the LEPL – Sh. Rustaveli National Scientific Fund. The changes are to be adopted to the law on Science, Technologies and Development thereof envisaging the State Control Agency, in case of refusal of appointment of the director of SRI, to assign the acting director or the head of the structural unit of the organization.
The draft on Higher Education concerns categories of the academic personnel of universities. The changes envisage composition of the personnel with professor, associate professor, assistant professor and the assistant. The change envisages election of the professor or any research officer with life tenure or certain term. Election of post-doctoral personnel shall be implemented under the rule established by the Academic Council. Any decision on movable property of the LEPL higher educational institution if it goes beyond the scopes of activity of the educational and scientific-research activity, can be made under the decision of the representative council of the university with consent of the Ministry of Education. The transitional regulations envisage the students and in the theological programs and pedagogue education.
The Chair of the Health Care Committee, Akaki Zoidze introduced with the I reading the drafts on: Social Aid; State Pension; State Compensation and State Academic Scholarship envisaging living allowance excessively issued before July 1, 2016 to be considered legalized and not subject to refund. The sum deduced for living allowance, as well as any other payments of the person due to excessively issued living allowances shall be subject to refund. MPs voted for the drafts. The next plenary of the autumn session will be held tomorrow, at 12h00.
The Plenary Session of the Parliament
fter endorsement of the agenda, the floor was given to MPs. Critical statements by Minority MPs were concerning Rustavi2 proceedings, economic situation, economic program of the Government, legislative initiatives of the PM announced yesterday and the changes to the law on occupation. Majority MPs responded to the criticism. Levan Koberidze in response to Rustavi2 statement, state – “Rustavi2 issue is the subject of private property right and each of us, the whole team would like to accomplish the case to prevent remaining questions. Our primary task is to define the foreign and domestic course of the country and we are all equally responsible for the results we will encounter”.
The Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, Irakli Kovzanadze echoed the new legislative initiatives of the Government. The Government made an important decision on dollarization to have the positive impact on macro-economic stability. “I would like to assure my colleagues that the measures announced by the PM are to be hailed and serve as a good example of cooperation”.
The Chair of the Health Care and Social Issues Committee, Akaki Zoidze introduced the increasing statistic of tobacco usage and initiated prohibition of smoking in Tbilisi and Kutaisi Parliaments. Manana Kobakhidze in response to accusations by Minority, reminded the estimations by the PACE Committee. “The Committee stated that Georgia is a model of European choice in the region. These conclusions were made deriving from the estimations by CoE Observation Mission, the last report of which was introduced at the sitting”.
After the statements, MPs resumed with agenda.
Four draft resolutions were introduced by the Chair of Procedural Issues and Rules Committee, Giorgi Kakhiani – termination of authority ahead of time for MPs: Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Kakha Kaladze, Giorgi Gakharia and Sandra Roelofs. The authority of Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Kakha Kaladze, Giorgi Gakharia is terminated due to their appointment on the Governmental positions and authority of Sandra Roelofs is terminated on the basis of the personal statement.
MPs also considered sundry documents for ratification: Loan Agreement between Georgia and ADB (ordinary transactions)(internal resource mobilization improvement for inclusive growth program – sub-program 3).
According to the reporter, the Deputy-Finance Minister, Giorgi Kakauridze, ADB, in view of state and private investment development, will allocate 100 ml USD for Georgia. The Loan Agreement between Georgia and IBRD of September 3, 2014 (E-transmission line enhancement project), Change N1 was introduced by G. Kakauridze. IBRD financially supports E-transmission line enhancement project with allocation of 60 ml USD loan. Loan duration is 25 years, 10 years amongst which are preferential and the interest rate is variable based on LIBOR. The single administration commission fee of the loan constitutes 0.25%.
The Parliamentary Secretary of the Government, Shalva Tadumadze introduced the Agreement between Georgia and EU on Exchange and Protection Security Procedures of Classified Information. The Agreement is a frame document and Georgia has signed similar documents with 17 countries, including EU and NATO member states. Ratification will facilitate to effective cooperation between EU and Georgia.
MPs considered two draft resolutions on expediency and inexpediency of further consideration of the drafts initiated by the preceding Parliament, introduced by the Chair of Legal Issues Committee, Eka Beselia. 32 drafts were considered expedient to be considered and 9 drafts – inexpedient.
Public Defender Responds to Statement of Finance Ministry
The Investigation Department of the Ministry of Finance released a statement today, on November 7, 2016, according to which, the Public Defender’s statement about the alleged offense committed by financial police officers is biased, does not reflect the actual circumstances of the case and misleads the public.
The Public Defender, after questioning citizen Sh.K. and studying his arrest and medical documentation, called on the Prosecutor's Office to launch an investigation into the alleged case of ill-treatment. According to the medical documents, citizen Sh.K. had been suffering from concussion, broken nose and other injuries.
Results of the examination conducted by the Public Defender does not rule out the content of the statement of the Ministry of Finance, including alleged commission of a crime by
Sh.K., though the grounds and goal of the Public Defender's appeal to the Prosecutor's Office was conduct a timely, thorough and objective investigation.
The Public Defender reminds the public, including the Ministry of Finance, that the Public Defender is not authorized to carry out a criminal investigation, while the abovementioned factual circumstances provide grounds for launching an investigation by the Prosecutor's Office - if the detainee is suffering from injuries, impartial and comprehensive investigation will establish whether he had been ill-treated by law enforcement officers and whether excessive and/or disproportionate force was used. The positive obligation of the state undertaken by the national and international law is to carry out an objective investigation.