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Disbanding antimonopoly commission still criticized by analysts

By M. Alkhazashvili
(Translated by Diana Dundua)
Thursday, March 6
Four years after the government abolished an antimonopoly commission, some analysts remain critical of the decision, pointing to rising prices that they say are partly the result of monopolies.

“The post-Rose Revolution administration made a very poor decision when it got rid of the antimonopoly service. Currently we have monopolies in almost all sectors,” the newspaper Akhali Taoba quoted economist Gia Khukhashvili as saying.

In 2004, then-Minister of Economic Development Kakha Bendukidze abolished the antimonopoly commission, a decision backed by parliament at the time.

Prices on everyday items have increased sharply recently, and the consumer price index for food and non-alcoholic beverages was up 4.9 percent in the month of January—the largest single month increase since December 2004—according to the Statistics Department.

Besides Khukhashvili, other analysts have noted the weakened dollar, which Georgians use to import goods from abroad, as being a significant factor in price rises.