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President meets Government “economic team”

By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, September 21
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has stated that he wishes to introduce “additional legislative guarantees” for attracting investment and protecting private property “in order to enhance the country’s economic capacity.” Speaking at a meeting with Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri, Economic Development Minister Zurab Pololikashvili and Finance Minister Kakha Baindurashvili on September 18, the President talked about a need to “move to the next stage of the economic programme.” He called on the Ministers to further “activate” their work.

“So far we have created an opportunity and society should make use of this opportunity. These opportunities should always be available. I propose to present in the next few days the next stage of our economic programme, the judicial and practical political aspects of it, which we will present to Parliament and the international economic community in order to create more stable guarantees for owners and investors and also strengthen opportunities for the public to improve their economic conditions,” the President told the Ministers on Friday.

Saakashvili noted at the meeting that despite improvements in the macroeconomic indicators the level of consumption is still low. “This reflects the lack of customs duties most of all. It means that the pocket of society is still empty. Now there is a chance for this pocket to be full,” he stated. “We need to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Some energetic actions are needed for us to get to the end. We have all understood what the public’s demand is. There are many more problems than one can imagine, but it is possible to solve all these problems if we work well,” the President added.

Saakashvili told Ministers to report to Parliament about their activities and the results of the “public dialogue,” referring to the exhibitions of the work of different Ministries which have been held in several Georgian towns. “I will also present our report to Parliament and our vision, based on the knowledge and wisdom that we received from the people,” Saakashvili said. He stated that a new economic plan should also be presented to Parliament. “When we say that our main aim is freedom, this should be reflected in the irreversibility of economic freedom, the guarantee of freedom of real economic action. We should adopt Constitutional changes, if needed, for this,” the President said.

Finance Minister of Georgia Kakha Baindurashvili said at the meeting that the economy has “stabilised” and that the crisis is “receding”. “There is a long way to go to reach the same growth parameters as last year,” Baindurashvili noted. “In this respect the most important thing will be to attract foreign investments,” he added.

Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri said the new package of economic reforms will be presented in Parliament by the end of September. He noted that the Government’s economic team has already been working on this package for several months. “At today’s meeting with the President there was talk about the reforms carried out over the last few years, and specifically about the fact that in terms of ease of doing business Georgia is in 11th place internationally. It is desirable to enter the top ten. There is a need to carry out additional legislative changes, so that the process of reforms becomes irreversible,” the Prime Minister stated.