Giorgi Gakharia’s Meeting with Michael Pompeo

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 18 November 2020 14:43

You are a true friend of this country. We are grateful for your personal and the United States support of our strategic partnership, the most important partnership of this country, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia stated during today's meeting with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.

The Head of State emphasized US-Georgia strategic partnership and thanked the US Secretary of State for his visit to Georgia.

"Of course, we are thankful for the United States support in combating COVID. As you know, we have a very successful story of cooperation, meaning Lugar Laboratory, which is key to Georgia's response to COVID. First of all, I would like to underline that we really appreciate the continuous support of the US people and Government for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. You know how important it is to our country with its territories occupied and occupation forces on our soil. Our strategic partnership is based, first of all, on values: freedom, democracy, and shared geostrategic interests. In this very turbulent time in the region, we understand that we have to discuss these issues, and this is a great opportunity for us to discuss very important issues of deepening the cooperation between the US and Georgia in defense and security, economy, and consolidating democracy. I would like to assure you, we feel that this is a great momentum for enhancing our cooperation, for enhanced partnership between our countries, for enhanced US presence in this region. So, welcome once again, and we are very thankful that you found time for this visit," Giorgi Gakharia addressed Michael Pompeo.

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo thanked the Head of Georgian Government for hospitality and emphasized the years-long friendly relations between the two countries.

"Mister Prime Minister, it is great to be here. We have many important topics to discuss today, and these points have been well taken in. The world, and certainly Georgia, is in the middle of a terrible challenge from the virus that was released from China. We will address this together, keep our people safe, and get our economies back up and going again. This is central for the prosperity of your country, region, and the world.
We have been great friends for almost 30 years now. We support your democracy, and we have worked together all this time, and we recognize all the pain and difficulty connected to the occupation of your country. And we will do everything we can to support your democratic process, the building up of the institutions in ways that are important for free and fair elections, and all other things that come with robust debate and democracy. And I thank you hosting me again. I appreciate it," Michael Pompeo said.

The parties discussed the key directions of Georgia-US strategic partnership and prospects of deepening the strong cooperation between the countries.

The Head of Government singled out the invaluable support from the US in the fight against the pandemic and thanked the strategic partner state.

Attention was paid to the state of affairs in Georgia and the region, alongside Georgia-US cooperation for strengthening regional and international security.

The Head of Government, during the meeting with the Secretary of State, emphasized the dire security and humanitarian situation in Georgia's occupied regions.

The Secretary of State reaffirmed the unwavering support of the United States of America for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity and the country's European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

The meeting underlined cooperation for further strengthening trade and economic relations and Georgia's democratic development. The Prime Minister singled out the crucially important role of the US in Georgia's democratic development.

According to Giorgi Gakharia, the visit by the Secretary of State reiterates the robustness of Georgia-US strategic partnership and the commitment of the two countries to continuing this cooperation in order to build on the existing partnership based on shared values.

The enhanced-format high-level meeting at the Administration of the Government was attended from the American side by Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Reeker, US Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Georgia Kelly Degnan, Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Ricky Waddell, and Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State Mary Kissel, and from the Georgian side by Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani, Georgian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the US Davit Bakradze, and Head of the Government Administration Natia Mezvrishvili.

After the meeting, the US Secretary of State, together with the Prime Minister, enjoyed Tbilisi's views from the balcony of the Government's Administration.

Press Service of the Government Administration

Giorgi Gakharia on Michael Pompeo’s upcoming visit: It is yet another demonstration of the all-time high level of Georgia-US strategic partnership

Published in Politics
Thursday, 12 November 2020 15:34

During today's meeting of the Interagency Coordination Council, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia commented on the upcoming visit of US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo to Georgia, scheduled for November 17-18.

The Head of Government emphasized that it is yet another demonstration of the importance and all-time high level of Georgia-US strategic partnership.

"Our meeting will firstly discuss issues pertaining to the US-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, and we will, of course, speak about the current developments in the South Caucasus, Georgia's further democratization, and economic and security issues. These topics have been suggested by our partners, and we are preparing to discuss them. We all must understand that it is not just a visit by the Secretary of State of our partner country; it is also a visit by Georgia's friend, and we will do everything to make sure that this visit further deepens the remarkable strategic partnership between the US and Georgia, especially in the direction of the critically important ongoing developments in the South Caucasus which will have a serious impact on our country's everyday life, security, and future.

Consequently, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and despite the challenges we are facing today, we must be fully focused on making ready for this visit," the Prime Minister said.


Press Service of the Government Administration

Georgia welcomes U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s forthcoming visit to Georgia scheduled for 17 and 18 November

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 11 November 2020 11:00

Georgia welcomes U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s forthcoming visit to Georgia scheduled for 17 and 18 November, the Georgian Foreign Ministry reports. 

Within the framework of the visit, the Secretary of State will hold meetings with Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, President Salome Zourabichvili and Minister of Foreign Affairs David Zalkaliani. Mike Pompeo will also meet with Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia, Ilia II.

High-level meetings within the scope of the Secretary of State’s visit will focus on the priorities under the United States-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, as well as on prospects for further enhancing cooperation in the areas of defence an security, trade and economy, democracy, people-to-people contacts, education and cultural exchanges.

The parties will discuss the security environment in Georgia and the wider region and will highlight cooperation between the countries as a way to further strengthen regional and international security. Talking points will also include the democratic and economic reforms taking place in Georgia.

The U.S. Secretary of State’s visit to Georgia once again points to the firmness of U.S.-Georgia strategic partnership and reaffirms the commitment of the two countries to enhance their cooperation aimed at further reinforcing the partnership based on shared values and vision. The visit provides yet another proof that the United States remains strongly committed to supporting Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the country’s continuous democratic development and European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

 

Ilham Aliyev Congratulates Giorgi Gakharia on Ruling Team's Victory in 31 October Parliamentary Elections

Published in Politics
Monday, 02 November 2020 12:20

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev congratulated Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia on the ruling team's victory in the 31 October Parliamentary elections.

A telephone conversation took place between Ilham Aliyev and Giorgi Gakharia.

The strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as the long-standing good-neighborly relations between the two countries were stressed during the conversation.

Press Service of the Government Administration

Statement by Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 30 September 2020 15:06

Another military confrontation between Azerbaijan and Armenia has created a grave situation. There are heavy casualties and, unfortunately, the cessation of hostilities and the resumption of dialogue has not been possible thus far.

We all understand that further escalation of the situation will have an extremely negative impact on the security of the entire region. We once again call on the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and international actors to make the most of the available opportunities to end the escalation and resume dialogue. As you know, our country has good neighborly relations with both countries, Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Historically, our Azerbaijani and Armenian citizens living in Georgia have always played a great role in the development and strengthening of our country, as well as the entire region. At the same time, their peaceful coexistence is a good example demonstrating that Georgians, Armenians, and Azerbaijanis have the potential to turn the entire South Caucasus into an area of peace and development.

It is our common interest for peace to be established in the region as quickly as possible. Georgia is ready to facilitate this process in any way, including by hosting a meeting of representatives of the sides of the conflict in Tbilisi for the purpose of holding a dialogue.

Press Service of the Government Administration

Georgian PM Gakharia and European Commissioner Varhelyi Sign Financing Agreements Worth 129 Million EUR for COVID Recovery

Published in Politics
Wednesday, 30 September 2020 11:03

Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia held a meeting with European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi in Brussels.

The meeting focused on the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The importance of the assistance provided by the European Union to Georgia was stressed.

The head of the Government of Georgia and European Commissioner Varhelyi signed two financing agreements with a total budget of 129 million EUR, which aim to improve the socioeconomic situation in Georgia as a result of the spread of the coronavirus. Giorgi Gakharia stated that the signing of the COVID-19 Resilience Contract and the Integrated Territorial Development documents within the framework of the visit is yet another confirmation of the special partnership between Tbilisi and Brussels.

The European commissioner emphasized the strengthening of transport and communication links, economic recovery, and development. The Prime Minister paid special attention to the importance of developing physical transport and communication links with the European Union in political and economic, as well as security directions, noting that the majority of the population of Georgia supports Georgia's European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Georgia's important role in the wider Black Sea Region was also stressed.
During the meeting, the Prime Minister spoke about Georgia's reforms and democratic development in accordance with European standards, in terms of which the country is a regional leader. Giorgi Gakharia underscored the recently implemented electoral reform, as a result of which the country has moved to a new stage of democratic development.

The parties discussed the difficult situation and instances of violation of human rights in the occupied territories of Georgia.
While discussing the occupation, the Prime Minister noted that 20 percent of not just the country's territories, but also its development and opportunities are under occupation. Giorgi Gakharia thanked the European Union for its strong support for the country's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
The discussion also touched on the importance of implementing new initiatives within the framework of the Eastern Partnership and focusing more on bilateral relations with the associated partners. It was noted that Georgia is a leader country in the Eastern Partnership.
The Prime Minister also underscored the progress made by the state in terms of the reform of civil service, stating that a politically neutral civil service has been established in the country and that corresponding steps have been taken at the legislative level as well, which is one of the key components of good governance.

The meeting, which was held at the European Commission, was attended by Georgian Foreign Affairs Minister Davit Zalkaliani, Head of Georgian Mission to the European Union and Ambassador of Georgia to the Kingdom of Belgium and Luxembourg Nata Sabanadze, and Head of Government Administration Natia Mezvrishvili.

Press Center of the Government of Georgia

DETAILS RELEASED OF GEORGIAN GOVERNMENT’S CAMPAIGN TO STRANGLE ANAKLIA PORT PROJECT

Published in Economics
Wednesday, 09 September 2020 15:40

Ruling Georgian Dream Party Reversed its Support for Vital Project,

Wiping Out Economic Benefits for Georgia

TBILISI, GEORGIA, 9 September, 2020 – The Anaklia Development Consortium (ADC), the company originally selected by the Government of Georgia to develop the strategic Anaklia Port Project, today shared additional details of the Government’s campaign, directed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, to undermine the project by dissuading potential project investors, lenders, contractors and suppliers from joining the project in order to kill it.

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

All infrastructure projects of such scale require government support; namely the encouragement of lenders and investors, the assistance in permitting, regulatory approvals and a favorable tax regime, and providing any ancillary support; in this instance, the provision of land and the construction of road and rail infrastructure.  For a government to actually oppose an infrastructure project that it had itself approved is highly unusual in the global economy. 

“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

  • During a June 12 meeting of the Georgian Dream party, attended by more than 100 party officials, Party Leader Bidzina Ivanishvili personally blamed Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili for his actions in support of the Anaklia project and for having close ties to ADC investor Mamuka Khazaradze.  Mr. Kvirikashvili resigned the day after that meeting.

October 2018

  • In February 2019 ADC learned that during an October 2018 meeting with senior U.S. State Department officials in Tbilisi, Mr. Giorgi Gakharia  (then Minister of Interior) advised the U.S. officials that the Anaklia Port project was not in Georgia’s interests.

January 2019

  • 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.)

February 2019

  • 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

  • SSA Marine advised ADC that it was suspending its activities related to the Anaklia Port project.

April 2019

  • Mr. Giorgi Kobulia, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, told “Forbes Week” that the negative public discussions and media reports of the Anaklia project were having a negative impact on the business climate within Georgia.  He subsequently resigned within days of the interview.

May 2019

  • 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.

September 2019

  • 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.

September 2019

  • 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.

September 2019

  • In a meeting between Prime Minister Gakharia and an Anaklia Supervisory Board member, Mr. Gakharia stated that “things had to get quiet” before he could reassure the major potential U.S. investor of the state’s support for the Anaklia Project, which the board member understood to be a condition that ADC and Mr. Khazaradze stop criticizing the government publicly on its opposition to the Anaklia Project, and the government would stop criticizing ADC.  
  • Also, the Supervisory Board was promised a letter of support to a U.S. investor from the highest levels of the Government, but this never materialized, even though ADC did comply with the Government’s request.

September 2019

  • 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.”

Taken together, these are only a selection of the instances where the Government of Georgia actively undermined the project in an effort to prevent ADC from developing the project.  ADC intends to present evidence during the upcoming arbitration proceedings to demonstrate the degree to which the Government took such steps.

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

 

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

Published in Health
Friday, 12 June 2020 11:22

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

Presidents of EBRD and ADB Confirm Readiness To Help Georgia Return to High Rate of Economic Development in Video Conference With Giorgi Gakharia

Published in Politics
Thursday, 09 April 2020 12:03

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia held a video conference with the presidents of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) regarding the possible assistance and financial resources to be allocated to Georgia due to the challenges associated with the global pandemic.

Economic problems caused by the global spread of COVID-19 were emphasized during the video conference. Funding allocated by EBRD and ADB to the Georgian private sector, Georgian banks, and other business entities was noted in particular.

The sides also discussed post-crisis measures and the assistance that Georgia might receive from the financial institutions, which would enable the government to continue the state funding programs that are being implemented today to support citizens and private businesses.

It was noted that the government team is actively working with the local representatives, as well as the head offices of both EBRD and ADB to jointly develop a package of measures that will focus on overcoming the ongoing challenges.

According to the assessment of the presidents of the financial institutions, the fact that Georgia is successfully coping with the crisis constitutes sufficient grounds to say that the country will very quickly regain the rate and positions of economic development that it possessed at the beginning of 2020. Suma Chakrabarti and Masatsugu Asakawa confirmed their readiness to actively support Georgia in this area.

The Georgian side stressed that EBRD and ADB are very strong and serious partners for Georgia. It was noted that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank have financed extremely important projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Georgia, including in the area of infrastructure. It was noted that all major systemic infrastructural projects funded by them are still in the active phase of implementation today, despite the ongoing crisis.

The head of government thanked EBRD and ADB for their active cooperation and their support of Georgia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Maia Tskitishvili and Minister of Finance Ivane Machavariani participated in the video conference.

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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