Government Allocates 2 Billion GEL To Directly Assist Economy, According to Giorgi Gakharia's Decision

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 01 April 2020 15:23

The prime minister of Georgia would like to thank each and every citizen, particularly the residents of Tbilisi, for the understanding with which they approached yesterday's events throughout all of Georgia, especially after 21:00. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia made this statement at the session of the Interagency Coordination Council on the coronavirus.

According to the head of government, this shows how the citizens perceive a sense of shared responsibility.

"This is of extreme importance to us as it shows the way in which we jointly perceived the responsibility, which is our shared responsibility - not just of the government but of each and every citizen of this country. Above all, this is a responsibility toward one another, toward our parents, the older generation. Only thus will we be able to overcome this challenge quickly," Giorgi Gakharia stated.

The head of government discussed the decisions taken to support the economy.

According to the government's decision, 2 billion GEL has been allocated for the direct assistance of the economy as of today.

According to the prime minister's assessment, this is the assistance that will be aimed at the retention of jobs, as well as the retention of companies, ongoing production, and current businesses.

"First of all, we understand that every one of our citizens has suffered direct economic damage in connection with the measures that the government is forced to implement in order to protect the health of our citizens. This damage is often direct and tangible. In many cases, people have lost their income and their jobs. Precisely for this reason, at this stage, and considering the fact that this crisis differs from all other crises because it is impossible to make accurate predictions concerning duration, as well as in terms of correctly estimating damage to the economy, we are forced - and in contrast to all other actors, it is our responsibility - to utilize even the modest capabilities of our economy today in a manner that is as effective and rational as possible," the head of government stated.

According to Giorgi Gakharia, this decision is of utmost importance in order to enable the Georgian economy to develop rapidly and to restore the starting positions it had at the beginning of the year as soon as the concluding phase of the crisis has been reached.

"In this regard, it is our unequivocal decision that we will do our utmost to maintain large-scale, systemic infrastructural projects under conditions of heath safety protection, as well as to support and enable systemic production to continue operating, and to do our best to support systemic fields of the economy to the greatest extent possible. In this regard, as of today, we have mobilized 2 billion GEL in the budget. This is only the beginning and the first stage, given the data that we possess today," the prime minister stated.

The head of government noted that at some stage, after some time has passed, it is possible that the country might face such challenges that this assistance might need to be increased.

The prime minister emphasized that the 2 billion GEL does not include the 351 million GEL that was directly allocated from the budget for the purposes of healthcare in the fight against COVID-19.

"This is the sum that was reserved in the crisis budget in order for us to fight for the health of our fellow citizens and to do everything in our power to hinder the rapid growth of the scale, as well as of the geographic distribution of the infection. These funds must be utilized in an extremely rational manner," the prime minister noted.

According to Giorgi Gakharia's assessment, how the government is managing to provide every citizen with direct assistance at this stage is of the utmost importance.

To this end, the government has decided to fully fund the utility payments of all of our citizens who consume less than 200 kilowatts of electricity per month and less than 200 m3 of natural gas per month for the duration of three months - March, April, and May.

"This includes both cleaning service and water utility payments. This assistance, which we decided within the framework of government, will directly reach our citizens. We understand that this will not be enough. Of course, we understand that we must identify every one of our citizens who have lost their job and we will then make special arrangements to provide them with direct assistance. Furthermore, I would like to emphasize once again that it is of extreme importance, in our case, to utilize each and every lari that was mobilized in the budget today in a rational manner - 2 billion GEL in terms of the economy and the direct assistance of our citizens, and 351 million GEL in terms of healthcare, for the direct fight against COVID-19," Giorgi Gakharia noted.

According to the prime minister, the crisis budget, within the framework of which the government is operating today, is of the utmost importance and the main thing is that the funds have been directed in order to maintain the most effective balance in terms of the fight against the infection, as well as in terms of economic potential.

"Ultimately, all of us understand that our goal is to overcome the virus in such a manner that our economy can retain the potential for rapid growth, and for us to overcome the virus in such a way that the damage to our economy is minimal, and so that job losses are minimal. I would like to call on every individual government agency to use the resources that are mobilized in the crisis budget for your agencies today in the most rational way possible. Of course, we will further discuss the radical reduction of ongoing expenses, which is also envisaged by the crisis budget and this concerns hundreds of millions. However, we must all understand that the main challenge is the following: It is difficult to make concrete and high-quality predictions. For this reason, we have to operate while practically facing new challenges on a daily basis and our main goal should be to act in a rational and effective manner in terms of management and budget spending, while also acting effectively in terms of the fight against the virus," the prime minister stated.

 

Press Service of the Government Administration

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    The following statement is issued on behalf of the ADC Supervisory Board:

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    “The Georgian Government’s campaign to strangle ADC’s ability to develop the Anaklia Port Project represents a self-inflicted wound for itself and considerable injury to Georgia’s economy and its role in the region.

    “Taken together, the Georgian Government's specific actions are part of a deliberate and well-orchestrated campaign to destroy a project which the Government itself originally sponsored and endorsed, but subsequently chose to destroy as a result of what appear to be the political and economic self-interests of the Georgian Dream Party and its principals.

    “The Government manufactured all sorts of excuses for not wanting to see various investors, lenders and partners involved in the project, but the Government really only had one purpose:  to choke the project to death by scaring away everybody who might have an interest in supporting it.

    “Also, is it beyond coincidence that government ministers – including two Prime Ministers -- who voiced support for the project or otherwise expressed concern about the growing controversy with the project were tendering their resignations shortly after such comments were made?  

    “The damage to Georgia caused by the Government goes well beyond the potential loss of the Anaklia Port and the associated Special Economic Zone.  The conduct of the Government is scaring away investors at a time when Georgia cannot afford to lose any more foreign investment.  According to the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the amount of foreign direct investment in Georgia has fallen from nearly US$  2 billion in 2017 to just over US$ 1.3 billion in 2019, and in the first quarter of 2020, stood at only US$ 171.8 million[1] - a catastrophic decrease even before the Covid crisis began to take effect.  As Retired U.S. Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges of the Center for European Policy Analysis said, ‘the government only has itself to blame.’[2]

    Some examples of the Government’s efforts to strangle ADC and the Anaklia Port Project include:

    November, 2017

    • Georgian Dream party leader Bidzina Ivanishvili requested to meet with ADC to discuss the Anaklia Port Project and asserted that the expansion of Poti Port could achieve the same objectives of the Anaklia Port at a far lower cost. 

    June 2018

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    • SSA Marine, which was selected as the Anaklia Port operator and was a potential investor, alerted ADC of its concerns about what seemed to be the Government’s support of an expansion of the Poti Port.  (Following detailed studies sponsored by the Government back in 2013-14, it had been determined that Poti Port could never meet Georgia’s needs for a Deepwater Port, which is why the government itself selected Anaklia for development at that time.  The Government’s subsequent expressions of support for expansion at Poti was a clear signal to the lending and investment community that the Government was no longer supportive of Anaklia.)

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    • A sovereign European development bank advised ADC that it had decided against supporting the project because of the negative actions of the Georgian Government, and the possible shift of support to the Poti Port.

    February 2019

    • Another sovereign European development bank advised ADC that it was withdrawing its support because one of its counterparts had just done so (above) due to the state’s apparent shift of support from Anaklia to Poti.

    March 2019

    • It has been reported that Infrastructure Minister Maya Tskitishvili, in ministerial hearings before Parliament, undermined SSA Marine as a potential investor and as the port operator, claiming the company lacked experience and financial capacity.  These assertions were not true. In the process of her speech, the minister also breached legal obligations of confidentiality that were associated with the investment agreement.

    April 2019

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    April 2019

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    • A major U.S. private equity firm which was in advanced negotiations with ADC to join the project revealed to ADC that Government officials warned the firm to stay away from the project.

    June 2019

    • Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze, in a trade visit to the U.S., met separately with SSA Marine, the leadership of the U.S. private equity firm that were interested in investing in the project, and with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, D.C.  Secretary Pompeo expressed support for the Anaklia project with the prime minister standing next to him, saying it would “strengthen Georgia’s ties with free economies and not allow Georgia to be under the economic influence of Russia or China.”  Upon his return to Georgia, Mr. Bakhtadze resigned, and this again put the project in unchartered waters.

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    • At a meeting in Tbilisi, a large Hong Kong-based private equity group with significant Central Asian transportation synergies that was considering joining the project was told bluntly by Infrastructure Minister Tskitishvili that the Government did not desire their participation in the project.  At this same meeting Ms. Tskitishvili reaffirmed the Government’s seeming opposition to SSA Marine’s involvement in the project.

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    • Giorgi Volski, Vice Speaker of Parliament, falsely claimed that the Hong Kong private equity group mentioned above is a “Russian” company,  with the intention either of disparaging it or sowing further confusion about the government's position in respect of the project.

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    • A delegation from the U.S. (in Tbilisi to participate in the 5th annual Tbilisi International Conference sponsored by the McCain Institute) met with new Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, and subsequently with Mamuka Khazaradze.  Representatives of the delegation told Mr. Khazaradze that Prime Minister Gakharia told them the Anaklia project was not commercially viable when this was patently not the case.

    October 2019:

    • Fadi Asly, chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia, is quoted in the media saying, “No one will invest in Anaklia project as long as Bidzina Ivanishvili wants to destroy it.”

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    Further details of the Anaklia Port project and ADC can be found at http://anakliadevelopment.com

     

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    The solution of this objectives will also support to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by all country members including our state of the UN until 2030.

    President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has specified active implementation of information technologies, establishment of safe IT infrastructure, which provides relative terms for rapid digitization process, which gains acceleration every day, among national strategic priorities in mid-term perspective.

    Gradual and steadfast transit to digital economy is an important factor of successful integration of our state to modern system of the world economy.

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    Central balance commission coordinates development of methodological bases of internal system controls of accounting and reporting of economic entities. Digital systems have started to be introduced in this sphere in the last years.

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    Adoption of the Law of Turkmenistan on Electronic Document, Electronic Document Management System and Digital Services, which specifies legal provision of these documents and services and their main requirements, was an important event of this year. The law is aimed at regulation of relations appearing in this sphere as well as at establishment of single space for informational exchange.

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    At the same time, it is proposed to make desk audits of taxpayers in electronic format without invitation of them to relative authorities and based on tax declarations and other documents. Activity with crediting organizations for establishment of electronic document management system will be introduced on the second stage.

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    At present time, local network between the central administration and regional registration departments has been established and operates. It allowed facilitating the system of agreeing on the documents between structural divisions in the regions and Ashgabat.

    Automated order of reception of applications for confirmation of name of legal entities and approval of documents for their registration or re-registration is introduced. It will also give an opportunity to increase the level and quality of work of registration departments, eliminate barriers and reduce material and physical cost of citizens and legal entities in registration procedures.

    The website of the Ministry has published normative documents and list of required documents, samples of applications in the section of registration of legal entities. Online format of applications has been made. It is planned to organize payment for registration and confirmation of names in online format.

    Structure of new database of the Single State Register of Legal Entities (SSRLE) is under development. Soon, it is planned to launch several online services for registration of legal entities as well as to facilitate the order of registration and provision of information from the SSRLE.

    Objectives and measures of digitization are discussed at the government sessions and meetings. The Head of the State always points out that innovations are not only implemented technologies but the process of their permanent update and the way of further development of Turkmen economy.

    Financial and economic sector gradually improve work for digitization, introduces electronic systems to various activities. Thus, organization of various online seminars, conferences, trainings with international financial institutes, organizations and foreign partners has been established.

    “Invest to Turkmenistan” website (invest.gov.tm) has been opened for fulfilment of assignments of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on promotion of information about economic reforms, projects of regional and international significance, attraction of investments of foreign and international banks, financial institutes and industrial groups.

    Digitization is very important for implementation of the SDGs providing many opportunities for economic and social growth. Development of information society and entire complex of digital technologies and services is carried out by digital transformation, which is the main vector in achievement of the SDGs.

    Implementation of economic potential of Turkmenistan in the context of the SDGs is significantly expanded, opportunity of branches during transfer to digitization, which main directions make direct effect on achievement of several goals in the sphere of sustainable development, is activated.

    These goals are: the Goal no.8 “Decent Work and Economic Growth”, Goal No. 9: Industrialization, Innovations and Infrastructure”, Goal no. 10 “Reduced Inequalities within and among Countries”, Goal No. 12 “Responsible Production and Consumption”, Goal no. 17 “Partnership for the Goals”.

    To some extent, use of digital technologies effects implementation of other sustainable development goals. Taking into account that our country has already integrated the SDGs in different state, profile and regional programmes, the transit to digital economy will allow accelerating social and economic progress of our state. At present, financial nd economic sector together with statistic bodies actively works on establishment of the SDG database.

    International online seminar on financing of implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals has been organized last May. It was dedicated to the role of integrated national financing mechanisms and was a part of events under the Decade of Activity for achievement of the SDGs in Turkmenistan. It has also become one of important events in the programme of activities honoured to glorious 25th anniversary of permanent neutrality of Turkmenistan.

    Delegations on ministerial level of the country members of the UN Special Programme for Economies of Central Asia (UN SPECA), representatives of the UN European Economic Commission, number of other UN agencies, international financial institutes such as the World bank, International Monetary Fund and other took part in the meeting.

    This is another visual example how the use of digital video conference communication allowed active implementation of planned events inside the country with participation of international institutes and organizations.

    Memorandum of Understanding on Strategic Partnership between the Ministry of Finances and Economy of Turkmenistan and Swiss company SICPA SA, which is specialized in secured identification, signed last January was another important measure in integration of our country to international trade and economic and financial relations including in trade and tax spheres, prevention of spread of counterfeit production.

    Cooperation with one of the leaders in this sphere allowed mastering and implementing modern technologies in our country, which would be the base for the formation of new digital environment and development of digital economy in general.

    Objectives of rapid industrialization of the country set by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov can be solved with active development of colossal volumes of current world information and rapid exchange of data.

    This is a highest priority taking into account joining of Turkmenistan as an observer to the World Trade Organization in July this year. Cooperation in electronic trade is discussed on the WTO platform at present. In near future, electronic commerce will be an important and perspective direction of development in our country as well.

    For implementation of budgetary reform, introduction of the Budgetary Code and transfer to result-based budgeting, introduction of intellectual technologies will support to establishment of actual state system of management of financial information, which provides precise control of budgetary resources, rational management and use.

    Acceleration of work of financial sector and economy in general by digitization, provision of efficiency, trustfulness, accuracy and high quality of information provided to the participants of the process of development, execution and reporting on the budget is the main advantage of this system.

    Perspectives of development of digital financial and economic institutes of Turkmenistan a related to development and application of compatible programmes and digital solutions providing reliable traceability of document management and reporting. It is proposed to expand the range of advance technologies, which will significantly enhance efficiency of economic processes.

    Introduction of single registration window, full transit of work of tax authorities with taxpayers to online system will allow not only improving the work of all economic entities but also making favourable environment for business and improving investment attractiveness of the country.

    Digital transformation based on use of latest technologies provides not only opening of new work places but also the provision of higher level of relations of economic entities by the formation of new standards of their social behavior.

    Digitization implies rapid transit to innovative way, stimulation of business and investment activity, growth of labor employment in scientific branches and work efficiency both in government and private sections, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov highlights. In the result, all of these will make positive effect on improvement of life quality and wellbeing of our people.

    The state news agency of Turkmenistan

     

  • Giorgi Gakharia: Every citizen of the country should call a doctor and get PCR tested on COVID-19 as soon as feverish or suspecting other respiratory symptoms

    Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia instructed respective institutions to extend the coverage of COVID-19 tests in parallel with re-opening of the economy and on the background of increased epidemic risks. Head of the Government of Georgia held a working meeting today on the topic.

    On the background of COVID-19 circulation and restrictions being lifted in the country, greater importance is acquired by the timely detection and treatment of possible cases. Every citizen should immediately call 112 or a family doctor and get PCR tested on COVID-19 if and when gets fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing or other respiratory symptoms.

    As of June 11, 2020 the country has identified 6 new cases, out of which 4 are not traceable and thus contain an outright threat. Hence, Government of Georgia and healthcare professionals once again urge the population to strictly adhere to the pre-defined measures.

    Gradual lifting of restrictions and resumption of the economy should not serve as a basis of lessening the effort or lead to an illusion that a virus has been defeated. Examples of various countries have been discussed at the working meeting, which have had repeated epidemic outbreaks. Significance of joint efforts and high degree of responsibility has been underlined in the process of tackling the global pandemic.

    Prime Minister of Georgia and management officials of the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) discussed the current stance at Fever Centers and inbound calls to 112, along with the resources required for the greater extension of testing practices. It was noted that as of today 18 labs in Georgia perform the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and this number will increase to 24 in July 2020. Average daily number of tests performed in the country is around 1500, which is expected to increase to 4500 in the nearest future. By autumn daily indicator of tests will reach 6000-8000. Along with possible cases, tests at present will be performed among some number of groups, which will be defined in the nearest future under the Government Resolution. In line with the instructions issued by the Head of Government of Georgia, stock of test kits will be periodically increased. NCDC is also replenishing its material-technical base.

     

    Press Service of the Government Administration

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