Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine share dairy sector innovations at event in Yerevan

Published in Economics
Tuesday, 28 June 2016 17:43
Around 80 participants, including commercial dairy farmers, local dairy producers and industry experts, as well as representatives of Armenia’s Agriculture Ministry met in the country’s capital Yerevan last week to discuss advances in the dairy sector in Armenia, Georgia and Ukraine. The event was organised by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as part of its support to the development of innovation and the knowledge economy in the country’s dairy sector. The participants also discussed key policy and investment priorities that could help accelerate the introduction of best practices in Armenia.
According to a study commissioned by the EBRD, Armenia’s dairy sector is dominated by small producers using obsolete technologies, who are hampered by low productivity and poor standards of production, said the EBRD press release. The study also suggests that there is a major need to modernise the production process and thus pave the way for improved quality and safety of local dairy products.
After the forum, commercial farmers in Armenia will be offered training opportunities to improve all aspects of milk production, handling and marketing, the EBRD said

The sitting of the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 14:40

The Committee considered with the I reading the draft by Guguli Magradze and Zviad Kvachantiradze on Philanthropy, Charity and Social Partnership and the draft on Tax Code, aiming at facilitation to philanthropy and charity, development of social partnership and definition of legal basis.
The draft on Philanthropy, Charity and Social Partnership defines the subjects of philanthropic and charity activity and the spheres of the hereof activity. The draft envisages tax remissions to stimulate hereof subjects – profit of the subjects other than from economic activity, shall be exempted from profit tax. Conveyance of the profits by the subjects to the natural persons: socially vulnerable families, disabled persons, single mothers and families with many children, orphan and gutter persons, refugee or humanitarian status persons, IDPs, affected with natural disasters, accidents, catastrophes, epidemic, war and armed conflicts, injured in the struggle for territorial integrity, families of deceased in the struggle, persons with chronic diseases shall be exempted from income tax. The draft envisages other preferences – exemption from double taxation.
As the Chair, Zurab Tkemaladze stated, it is not clearly defined in the draft. The law shall be approximated to EU legislation and the businessman shall have the impetus and opportunity to do charity. So, the draft is very important but the Committee will support it if it is in harmony with the Constitution, Tax Code and approved by the Government.
The Committee considered the Loan Agreement between Georgia and EBRD (Tbilisi Bus project). As the Deputy-Finance Minister, Giorgi Kakauridze stated, the agreement was signed on May 11, 2016, envisaging provision of Tbilisi City Hall with new, ecologically effective, compressed natural gas powered 175 buses. EBRD has allocated 27 ml EURO loan and ESP has allocated 7 ml EURO grant. Consideration was participated by the Deputy-Mayor, Irakli Lekvinadze. The Committee supported the document.
The Committee considered with the III reading the drafts on: Innovations; Grants; Tax Code; Science, Technologies and Development thereof; Energy and Natural Gas; Public Register; Food/Forage Safety, Veterinary and Plant Protection Code; Entrepreneurs; Labor Migration; Public Health; Control on Entrepreneurship; Code of Administrative Offenses; Official Statistics. The Committee supported the drafts.

Developing industry and agriculture

Published in Politics
Friday, 27 May 2016 17:17

Prime Minister discussed the importance of the European Neighbourhood Program for Agriculture and Rural Development in Georgia (ENPARD Georgia II). 50 million Euro Financing Agreement on the second stage of the program has already been signed. The program aims at fostering agriculture, relevant policy and reforms as well as improvement of the quality of the applicable services.
"This is a crucial program in terms of development of the agriculture industry. 50 million Euro Financing Agreement has been signed. The funds has been allocated for the purpose of fostering agriculture, relevant policy and reforms as well as improvement of the quality of the applicable services." - Prime Minister stated.
Pursuant to Giorgi Kvirikashvili, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has already approved the 50 million USD credit line for Georgian enterprises that will attempt to bring their production standards with those of the EU.
"This is a substantial motivation for developing the enterprises, particularly SMEs that are compliant with the EU standards. We urge the business sector to exploit this opportunity to the fullest. This is the first phase of the program and the EBRD will cooperate with the representatives of the Georgian banking sector to make this credit line available for our entrepreneurs," - Giorgi Kvirikashvili noted.

EU and EBRD support to business sector

Published in Economics
Monday, 23 May 2016 15:39
Thousands of Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are to benefit directly from the new assistance programme from the EU and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which will strengthen their competitiveness in domestic and international markets through in-depth advisory services, training courses and awareness-raising activities. The agreement to provide up to EUR 28 million was signed between the two institutions last week, the EU Delegation to Ukraine said. The assistance, part of the wider EU4Business initiative, will include the creation of a network of business support centres across Ukraine.
“The EU4Business initiative aims to support job-creating Ukrainian businesses by equipping small and medium-sized companies with new skills and supporting their ambitions to export to the largest neighbouring market – the EU Single Market of more than 500 million consumers,” said the Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Ambassador Jan Tombinski. “We are determined to help local businesses become drivers of economic growth in the Ukrainian regions and compete successfully in global markets,” he added.
In addition to unlocking access to finance for Ukrainian SMEs, the EU4Business initiative will also provide significant technical assistance to the Ukrainian government to support deregulation and the implementation of sound policies to support the private sector. Under this initiative, Georgian, Moldovan and Ukrainian SMEs will receive EUR 200 million of grants – a contribution that is expected to unlock at least EUR 2 billion of new investments by SMEs in the three countries. These investments will be financed largely by new loans supported by the initiative.

Prime Minister welcomes the improved economic growth forecast

Published in Politics
Friday, 13 May 2016 09:46

"We are planning to implement important reforms that will substantially alter the investment environment in Georgia next year. We consider that this will entail considerable acceleration of the economic growth of Georgia and this will influence the growth of the number of working places, - Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili responded to the prognosis made by the EBRD regarding the economic growth of Georgia.
Pursuant to Prime Minister, it is a welcoming fact that the EBRD has reassessed the economic growth potential of the country and increased the prognosis to 3.4% from 3%."
"I would say that even larger growth shall be expected till the end of year. Within the frames of the 4-point reform plan we are undertaking major changes alongside with completely altering the management strategy of infrastructural and other projects. We consider that the growth indicator will be increased due to the refinement of the enforcement mechanisms, steps taken in a view of improving Georgia's image at the international level as well as stability that has become Georgia's characteristic throughout the last years," - Prime Minister indicated.
Prime Minister's Press Office

EBRD and EU programme to support free trade areas with Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine

Published in Economics
Thursday, 12 May 2016 14:31

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union (EU) are stepping up their support for businesses in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. A new joint programme will help local entrepreneurs to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) between each country and the EU.
The EBRD will provide €380 million in loans and trade guarantees to local partner banks and other financial institutions for on-lending to businesses, while the EU will make available €19 million for technical assistance, investment incentives and risk-sharing. At the same time, the Bank and the EU are supporting further improvements to the investment climate through various policy dialogue activities.
The establishment of a free trade area is part of the EU’s Association Agreements with Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine signed in 2014. It will offer local businesses access to the EU’s single market, the world’s largest, and help boost economic development and growth in the three countries.
The signing marks the first phase of a planned €1.2 billion EBRD/EU programme to which the EU is expected to provide €56.5 million in funding to help businesses invest in improvements of product quality and service standards. This, in turn, will prepare them for the DCFTA and create an environment conducive to cross-border trade, job creation and economic growth in the three countries.
“This is truly a game-changing initiative to everyone’s benefit: it will make local businesses more competitive while consumers will be offered more advanced, better quality products and services,” said Alain Pilloux, EBRD’s Acting Vice-President Policy and Partnerships. “It will also help to unleash the full export potential of businesses in these three countries, as it will provide them with access to the European market.”
“Small and medium size companies are the engine of the local economy. This facility will help them take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the establishment of a free trade area with the EU, thus contributing to overall economic growth in the partner countries,” added Katarina Mathernova, the European Commission’s Deputy Director General, Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations.
The EU has also provided €42 million to the EBRD’s Advice for Small Business to boost entrepreneurs’ know-how to grow their business in the Eastern Neighbourhood region since 2011. Both programmes are part of the EU4Business initiative, which supports the EU’s projects to back small and medium-sized enterprises in Eastern Partnership countries.
With its local presence and 25 years of experience of working to develop the private sector in the three countries, the EBRD is strongly positioned to successfully promote this project. The Bank is the largest institutional investor in the three countries and has invested €2.6 billion in Georgia, €1 billion in Moldova and €11.6 billion in Ukraine.
 

Georgia is the best country for EBRD investments-Bruno Balvanera

Published in Economics
Friday, 06 May 2016 17:43

“EBRD hopes that 2016 will be a year of historical investments for Georgia, the Director for Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Bank Bruno Balbanera said. According to him, EBRD plans to invest 400 ml Euros and this will be an unprecedented amount of money.
“We discuss Georgia as the best country as reformer, as receiving country of international standart and EBRD mandates. So we think that Georgia is really best investment environment with great future,”-Bruno Balvanera said.

Meeting with the representatives of EBRD

Published in Economics
Thursday, 14 April 2016 17:40

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the EBRD) is ready to support Government of Georgia in implementation of the INVESTMENT projects and assist in developing the securities market - respective statement was made during the meeting of Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Director for Caucasus Moldova and Belarus of EBRD Bruno Balvanera.
During the meeting the ongoing projects of EBRD in Georgia and prospects of future cooperation were discussed. It was noted that the EBRD is Georgia's reliable partner in terms of financial cooperation, deepening relations with Europe and attracting European investments.
The meeting was attended by the Vice Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Dimitry Kumsishvili, Secretary of Economic Council Giorgi Gakharia and Deputy Minister of Finance Giorgi Tabuashvili.

The sitting of the EU Integration Committee

Published in Politics
Friday, 18 March 2016 15:05

The Committee considered the Financial Agreement between Georgia and EIB on Urban Reconstruction and Development of Georgia, introduced by the Head of Department for Relations with the Parliament of the Finance Ministry, Andro Loladze.
“The Agreement aims at financing of various small infrastructural projects (roads, streets, drainage, sewerage system rehabilitation) in Georgian regions, as well as tourist infrastructural projects and liquidation of consequences of Tbilisi natural disaster”. EIB shall allocate 100 ml EURO loan with the term of 25 years where 5 years are preferential and interest rate is fixed or based on Libor.
He also introduced the Financial Agreement between Georgia and EIB on East-West Highway II, envisaging financing of Zemo-Osiauri-Chumateleti section with 49 ml EURO. “The section is 14.1 km. long where the first 5.8 km will be financed by EIB and the rest 8.3 km with 140 USD by WB”. The loan of 49500 ml EURO is allocated for 30 years where 5 years are preferential.
He also introduced the Loan Agreement between Georgia and EBRD on East-West Highway Corridor Improvement. The document envisages Zemo-Osiauri-Chumateleti section improvement into 4-lane highway. The loan constitutes 140 ml USD by the WB with 25 years andINTEREST RATE based on Libor. Preferential term is 10 years. The Committee supported the documents.
The Committee considered the draft by National Statistics Service on Official Statistics, introduced by the CEO, Meri Daushvili. The draft aims at definition of periodicity of Census to facilitate to timely provision of the society with the information and optimal consumption of budgetary funds. The draft defines responsible body for preparation and endorsement of statistic classifications and excludes the vague interpretation of the norm.
“The draft was conditioned with EU and European Nuclear Energy Union and member states Agreement and Georgia-EU AA” – as stated, the article 289 of which requires compliance of law on statistics of Georgia with EU statistics legislation, as well as entailed with EU Economic and Social Council Statistics Commission Recommendations requiring UN member states to define the 10-year period of census. “Thus, deriving from the interests of the country, we will be able to better plan census and to implement EUAA obligations on statistics. Also, the direct requirement o



A conference hosted by the EBRD

Published in Economics
Thursday, 04 February 2016 16:20

EBRD President Chakrabarti at the opening of the refugee conference.
A conference hosted by the EBRD called for a new approach to tackle the refugee crisis caused by the Syrian civil war.
It proposed a key role for the private sector in providing sustainable livelihoods for refugees and helping host countries cope with the economic strains of large-scale migration.
EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti opened the conference by announcing plans for a financing package worth €900 million for Turkey and Jordan, two of the EBRD countries that have been most seriously affected by the exodus of Syrians escaping from the violence in their home country.
He was joined in an opening session by Imad Fakhoury, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Jordan, Muhammed Murtaza Yetiş, Prime Minister's Chief Advisor responsible for Refugees and Humanitarian Aid, Turkey, and Elias Bou-Saab, Minister of Education, Lebanon. Lebanon has applied to become a member of the EBRD with a view to receiving EBRD finance, subject to a decision by shareholders.
Minister Fakhoury said that Jordan was working on an approach that aimed to turn the refugee crisis into a development opportunity. He spoke of a paradigm shift in dealing with refugees by supporting private sector solutions as well as Public Private Partnerships. The approach would help Jordan “create more economic opportunities for Jordanians as well as for Syrian refugees until they can get back safely and rebuild their home once a political solution is found”.
The conference stressed the importance of engaging the private sector in helping to address the immediate infrastructure requirements caused by the influx of refugees and also helping to create jobs, especially by the development of labour intensive small and medium sized enterprise.
The aim was to create economic opportunities for both the refugees and the host populations and to make the host economies more robust and resilient in the longer term. Access to credit and access to markets were identified as key challenges for private sector development, areas where the EBRD has particular expertise and experience through its provision of targeted credit lines via local banks and promoting cross-border trade.
Private sector involvement would also bring necessary skills to economic development and help to reduce the impact of responding to the crisis on stretched public sector budgets, the conference concluded.
Business representatives at the conference stressed that governments had to take steps to make it easier for the private sector to operate by responding more quickly to rapidly changing circumstances.
Speakers said that in the development of small business, special emphasis had to be put on firms employing women and youth who constitute a large share of the refugees. Empowering refugees through financial inclusion was seen as a way of reducing the burdens they face.
They added programmes were needed to identify refugees’ skills and match them with potential shortages in host countries. Organisations like the EBRD can provide active support together with the private sector to offer training and work-based learning opportunities and routes into jobs.
The conference also discussed the role of the private sector in upgrading municipal services in an efficient and sustainable way. Water, waste water, solid waste and urban transport services are under severe pressure from the increased number of users. Only the joint involvement of the public and private sectors can address these issues.
Announcing the EBRD’s €900 million financing package, the EBRD President said the Bank would be able to finance up to €500 million in new transactions subject to mobilising an additional €400 million in grants.
“In order to contribute to the mobilisation of grant funding, management will propose to shareholders an allocation from the Bank’s net income of around €100 million over a period of three years, from 2016 to 2018, subject to appropriate governance rules and to the Bank’s continuing profitability. Management will propose to shareholders an initial allocation of €35 million in 2016,” he added.
Among the countries where the EBRD invests, Turkey currently houses more than 2 million refugees from Syria alone, while Jordan has an estimated 1.4 million people who have fled their homes.
The EBRD is already an important investor in these countries. The Bank invested €1.9 billion in Turkey in 2015 and plans to continue providing a high level of finance. Investments have grown strongly in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, which includes Jordan, and exceeded €1.4 billion last year. The Bank is working towards becoming operational in Lebanon later this year, subject to a decision by shareholders.
EBRD President Chakrabarti will report on the conclusions of the EBRD conference and on the EBRD’s own proposals at the Supporting Syria and the Region conference 2016 [8] in London on 4 February.

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