The joint sitting of the Committees – Economic Block
The Agrarian Issues, the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources, the Sector Economy and Economic Policy, the Regional Policy and Self-Government and the Budget and Finance Committees discussed the Governmental Program “Freedom, Rapid Development, Welfare” for 2016-2020 and the composition of the Government introduced by the PM candidate, Mr. Giorgi Kvirikashvili.
MPs heard the candidates for the Minister of Finance, Dimitri Kumsiashvili, Minister of Energy, Kakha Kaladze, Minister of Agriculture, Levan Davitashvili, Minister of Environmental Protection, Gigla Agulashvili and the Minister of Regional Development, Zurab Alavidzespeaking about implemented activity and the future plans.
The priority of the Government still remain – facilitation to petty and average business, encouragement of entrepreneurship and start-up business, agricultural development and integration of the country into the world economic system. Simultaneously, the Government will further improve state social programs, ensure new job opportunities and overcome poverty. Ministries will be guided under the 4-point Governmental plan envisaging economic and education reforms, special arrangement plan and public administration reform.
Mr. Dimitri Kumsiashvili spoke about main principles, tasks and plans serving the basis for activity of the Finance Ministry. “We have come with concrete promises and we will reflect it in the budget. Hence, incomes to the budget will be distributed in fair manner”. Financing of rapid economic development and economic stimulating projects will be the main priority along with social responsibility assumed by the team. He emphasized tax policy and foreign and domestic debt. The overall debt towards GDP constitutes 41.2% where 39% is the foreign debt. The debt structure is as well important where 78% is the foreign and 22% is the domestic debt. The average weighted interest rate constitutes 2.1% and coverage area – more than 10 years. The domestic debt shall be increased which shall be jointly considered when discussing the state debt strategy. The debts have pros and cons and we shall find the balance between the currency reserve supply and currency risk reduction”. Georgia recently has become the only country with no reduced rating by the international rating organizations, “which means that our economic policy was correct”.
As the candidate of the Minister of Economic and Sustainable Development, Giorgi Gvakharia stated, Georgia has the best results in economic growth despite of challenges of rapid economic growth, increase of employment, reduction of trade deficit. These are the challenges that shall be converted into economic opportunities. The private sector shall be enhanced to contribute its mite in rapid economic development. The Ministry will strictly adhere to the 4-point plan.
Kakha Kaladze spoke about energy as one of the main direction for economic development. He emphasized implemented and future projects in energy sphere and stated about 3 billion GEL to be invested in energy for infrastructural development, for gas storage which is particularly important and for increase of transit role of the country. All the villages will be further supplied with electricity and gas.
The candidate for the Minister of Agriculture, Levan Davitashvili spoke about policy and main directions in the sphere. The primary target is to increase self-provision and production of export-oriented goods. He spoke about solution ways for the challenges the field encounters. As he stated, all the state programs and international projects onset will be maintained, including state programs on cooperative enhancement, agriculture development strategy will be developed and particular attention will be attached to harvest technology development as 20% of loss of harvest is related to unavailability of technologies.
Mr. Gigla Agulashvili spoke about the mechanisms and reforms to reduce environmental degradation. He spoke about update of the legislative base. The reforms concern waste management, forest and mineral issues, air quality improvement, protected areas etc.
The candidate for the Minister of Regional Development, Zurab Alavidze spoke about the 4-year priorities envisaged under the 4-point plan of the Government, one of the points of which concerns special arrangement, which is the main framework of development of the country. He overviewed highway and road projects. The Ministry also plans development of tourist infrastructure, rehabilitation of the roads leading to the cultural heritage, implementation of water supply and sewerage systems etc.