Prepared by Christina Tashkevich
Friday, December 28
Next phase of MCG energy project starts
An agreement between Millennium Challenge Georgia Fund (MCG) and the Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC) was signed on December 25, authorizing the GOGC to manage repair works on the North-South natural gas pipeline financed by an MCG grant.
Under the second and third phases of rehabilitation of the gas pipeline, 17 damaged sections are to be repaired. Six were previously rehabilitated under the first phase of the project, also under the direction of the GOGC.
MCG’s energy infrastructure budget is USD 49.5 million.
A new database and search system for Georgian products launched
The presentation of a new project, NetExpo Georgia, was held on December 21. The project aims to create a comprehensive and widely-accessible database of all products made in Georgia.
The electronic database, which can be viewed at www.netexpo.ge, allows local and foreign investors, entrepreneurs and representatives of the private sector to find what products are available on the Georgian market, whether locally produced or imported.
NetExpo Georgia can also create and host websites for Georgian companies if requested.
“There are still a number of Georgian firms that have no website. We will provide this service to them and create a website for them,” said Merab Lominadze, initiator of the project.
EBRD supports energy efficiency and SME investments in Georgia
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is lending USD 12 million to Kartu Bank to finance energy efficiency projects and support the development of small and medium sized (SMEs) businesses in Georgia.
A USD 7 million credit line will be used to provide local entrepreneurs with access to medium-term financing, focusing on regions outside the capital and on sectors such as tourism, agriculture and health care. Sub-loans to small businesses will be capped at USD 500 000.
A further USD 5 million will finance energy efficiency projects in Georgia.
Michael Davey, EBRD Director for Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus, said the SME sector plays a key role in facilitating economic growth, creating jobs and improving living standards, and is thus vital for the overall economic development of Georgia.
George Kvirikashvili, the CEO of Kartu Bank, said the availability of medium to long-term funding for local banks in Georgia is very limited. The EBRD financing will make a real impact, he said.
The EBRD one of the largest investors in Georgia’s private sector. To date it has signed a total of 81 investment projects in the country, covering energy, transport, agribusiness, general industry and banking, for a total commitment of almost EUR 600 million.
ARTI Group: no deficit of our products on Georgian market
ARTI Group management say there will be no deficit of their products on the Georgian market.
A fire gutted the Tbilisi offices and warehouse of ARTI Group late on December 23, causing millions of dollars in damage.
Company management claim they can fill any deficit from regional branches.
ARTI Group says it will take a year to build a new warehouse.
ARTI Group director general Martins Vecvanags says the company does not rule out arson as a possible cause of the fire.
ARTI Group, owned by an ally of arrested ex-minister Irakli Okruashvili, has been a presence in Georgia, where it is the exclusive distributor of Procter & Gamble and other brands, since 1996.