Georgia and ADB signed the Agreement on Fiscal Resilience and Social Security Program
High-level Meeting on Black Sea Submarine Cable Project Held in Tbilisi
A high-level Steering Committee meeting within the Agreement on Strategic Partnership in the Field of Green Energy Development and Transmission between the Governments of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary was held in Tbilisi. The Parties to the Agreement emphasized the importance of cooperation in Green Energy Development and Transmission as well as energy security thus underlining the significance of implementation of the Black Sea Submarine Cable project.
The Vice Prime Minister of Georgia, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Levan Davitashvili, opened the meeting. Minister of Finance of Georgia Lasha Khutsishvili, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Aleksandre Khvtisiashvili, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary Péter Szijjártó, Director of Azerbaijan Renewable Energy Agency Javid Abdullayev and State Secretary of the Ministry of Energy of Romania, George-Sergiu Niculescu also attended the event. European Union Ambassador to Georgia Paweł Herczyński, Regional Director of the World Bank in the South Caucasus Sebastian Molyneux, General Director of “Georgian State Electric System” Giorgi Gigineishvili and other high-ranking guests also took part in the event.
The Black Sea Submarine Cable project will be implemented with the support of the Georgian Government and the cooperation of the Georgian and Romanian transmission system operators – “Georgian State Electric System” and “Transelectrica”. On December 17, 2022, an Agreement on Strategic Partnership in the Field of Green Energy Development and Transmission between the Governments of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary was signed. One of the important issues of the Agreement was the Black Sea Submarine Cable project – upon the implementation of the project, a 1195-kilometer cable will connect Georgia and Romania (1100 km underwater and 95 km on-land cable). The Cable will allow the countries of the South Caucasus and Romania to take advantage of expanded export opportunities and trade based on the hourly prices of the electricity market.
The Black Sea Submarine Cable is a strategic project and a great investment opportunity for Georgia and its neighbouring countries. It will contribute to the development of the renewable energy sector, increase transit opportunities and bilateral trade potential between the EU and the South Caucasus region, which in turn will ensure a sustainable and reliable energy future for the regions.
At this stage, "Georgian State Electric System" with the help of consulting company CESI is carrying out a feasibility study of the project. In the future, within the framework of the project, environmental and social impact assessment and geophysical and geotechnical studies of the Black Sea bottom will also be carried out. The possibilities and best ways of practical implementation of the project will also be determined. The committee will review a presentation prepared by CESI outlining ongoing and planned activities within the feasibility study.
Next meeting of the Steering Committee established within the frame of the Agreement on Strategic Partnership in the Field of Green Energy Development and Transmission between the Governments of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary will be held in Bucharest.
HEARING OF MINISTER OF FINANCE WITHIN MINISTERIAL HOUR
The Parliament heard the Minister of Finance, Lasha Khutsishvili, within the Ministerial Hour, reporting on the activities and future plans of the agency.
According to the Minister, 10.1 percent was the real GDP growth in 2022, which was still double-digit. This information was provided by the National Statistical Agency. According to Lasha Khutsishvili, the economy's level reached its pre-pandemic trend in 2021–2022, and considerable growth persisted in 2023 (8.4% growth in January). He claims that in 2022, greater economic conditions compared to expectations allowed for the first time an increase in budget revenues.
"The consolidated budget's tax revenue rate climbed by 1.8 billion GEL from its first plan to its final plan, which was 17 billion 350 million GEL. Tax revenue cash flow exceeded 17 billion 385 million GEL, exceeding the enhanced expected indicators by 100.2 percent. It should be noted that the rate of value-added tax refunds exceeded 2 billion 265 million GEL at the same time. The consolidated budget's overall revenue exceeded 23 billion 648 million GEL, or 100.8 percent, of the projected amount”, - the Minister of Finance noted.
Regarding the expenditure component, the Minister reported strong performance and a volume of 23 billion 49 million GEL, or 99.7% of the anticipated amount. Cash flow above 15 billion 615 million GEL (99.2% of the estimate) and capital expenses exceeded 6 billion 169 billion GEL (101.2% of the projection), respectively, for the portion of current expenses.
Lasha Khutsishvili called attention to the trend of declining budget deficits.
Lasha Khutsishvili discussed the reforms that are currently taking place within the Ministry's system, including: the management of state finances, management of state investments, management of debt, reform of state enterprises, analysis of the efficacy of tax expenditures, and reforms in the tax and customs areas.
According to the Finance Minister, the Ministry started actively working on the examination of tax expenditures, or tax advantages that are legally defined, in 2020.
VAKHTANG GOMELAURI HOSTED THE MINISTER OF THE INTERIOR OF THE KINGDOM OF SPAIN
The Minister of the Interior of the Kingdom of Spain - Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gomez, together with the delegation, paid an official visit to the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.
Within the framework of the visit, the Ministers of Internal Affairs of the two countries held an official meeting.
The parties discussed the importance of tight and effective cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of Georgia and the Kingdom of Spain. During the meeting, the role of police attaches was highlighted in the development of cooperation between the law enforcement bodies, lately conducted joint operations were further positively evaluated.
Vakhtang Gomelauri expressed hope that the issue of signing agreement on mutual recognition of driving licenses between the parties will successfully be completed in the nearest future. The Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia noted that as a result of the amendments implemented in the national legislation of Georgia, the Georgian driving licenses were harmonized with the EU standards.
During the meeting, the Ministers of Internal Affairs of the two countries signed a protocol between Georgia and the Kingdom of Spain on the implementation of the "Agreement between the European Union and Georgia on the readmission of persons residing without authorization”. The mentioned agreement will contribute to strengthening cooperation between Georgia and Spain in the field of fighting against illegal migration effectively.
At the end of the meeting, the Minister of the Interior of the Kingdom of Spain thanked Georgian colleague for the hospitality and expressed readiness to continue active collaboration with the Georgian side on priority issues for the law enforcement agencies of the two countries.
H.E. Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia Meets IMF Mission
H.E. Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia met Subir Lall, Deputy Director of Middle East and Central Asia Department of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and James John, IMF Mission Chief today, along with other mission members.
Discussion was focused on the cooperation of Georgia and IMF, as well as the implementation of reforms envisaged in the 3-year program supported by the IMF.
Dignitaries reviewed the current economic stance of the country, once again highlighting that irrespective of the current challenges, Georgia achieved progress in terms of economic growth and improved fiscal parameters in the past two years. At the same time, significance of continued macroeconomic policies has been stressed.
Meeting was attended by Giorgi Kakauridze and Ekaterine Guntsadze, Deputy Ministers of Finance; Selim Cakir, Resident Representative of the IMF in Georgia; Vakhtang Chalapeikrishvili, Department Head of Macroeconomic Analysis and Fiscal Policy Planning at the MOF and Shota Gunia, Department Head of Fiscal Risk Management at the MOF.
Minister of Finance of Georgia met ADB Country DirectorH.E. Lasha Khutsishvili, Minister of Finance of Georgia met Shane Rosenthal, ADB Country Director in Georgia with Bruce Dunn, ADB Director of the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department and other officials of the ADB.Meeting was attended by Ekaterine Guntsadze, Deputy Minister of Finance of Georgia.Dignitaries discussed the bilateral and regional cooperation between Georgia and Asian Development Bank (ADB).ADB intends to update its Safeguard Policy Statement issued in 2009. It will be brought in compliance with the ADB Strategy for 2030 and its operational priority plans.Meeting held today was aimed at sharing information on the updated policy approaches and directions between the stakeholders to make sure that every country of the ADB gets more effectively engaged in the process of discussion.Safeguard Policy Statement includes such themes as: assessment and management of environmental and social risks and impacts; labor and working conditions; pollution prevention and resource efficiency; health, safety and security; biodiversity and sustainable natural resource management; cultural heritage and others.As noted at the meeting, Georgia stands ready to actively cooperate and attune its position in all these directions.