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Prime Minister sums up 2009

By Mzia Kupunia
Thursday, December 31
Georgian Prime Minister Nika Gilauri summed up the year 2009 on December 30, saying that the year had been “complicated” in terms of the economy.

Georgia’s economy contracted 4% in 2009, according to the Premier. He said growth had decreased by 5% in the first quarter, 10% in the second and 1% in the third quarter but there had been about 1-2% growth in the fourth quarter of the year. The final figures will be ready by March-April 2010, Gilauri stated.

Minus 4% growth is not good, however what was happening in the country during the year should be taken into account, the Prime Minister said. “April and March did not help the growth of the economy. The first quarter had the lowest indicators for a while. The second quarter is almost always better than the first, however this did not happen this year, due to the political crisis in the country,” Gilauri told journalists.

USD 505 million in foreign direct investment entered Georgia during the first three quarters of the year, according to the Prime Minister. “In total we received USD 700-800 million in foreign capital,” Gilauri said. “The flow of funds from international finance organisations has also increased, as the Asian Bank, World Bank, EBRD and others have been very active,” he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, speaking at the last Government session of 2009, Gilauri announced that he was abolishing the Supervisory Service of the Economy Ministry. “In the last few years the Georgian Government has carried out many reforms to promote the private sector and eliminate the chances of corrupt deals being made,” Gilauri told Cabinet members. “However there are several institutions left which do nothing but take money from people. The public became convinced of this several days ago when some members of the Supervisory Service were arrested,” he said. Gilauri told businessmen to call the police if anyone approaches them in the name of the Supervisory Service. “If there is any department or service in your Ministries which does nothing but take money from the private sector, you should raise the issue at the next Government session,” Gilauri told Ministers.

Minister of Economic Development Zurab Pololikashvili said that about a month and a half will be needed to officially abolish the Supervisory Service and that he had been the one who gave the PM the idea of doing this. “It is necessary to abolish the service because it serves no function,” he said, adding that there are several other such departments, which might also be abolished after analysis is made.

Ministers summed up the work of their Ministries at the session. Speaking to journalists afterwards, Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze described the work of his Ministry as “positive” but expressed some discontent about its results. “The work and efforts of the Ministry can be evaluated positively in all directions, however nobody can be satisfied with its results when 20% of our territory remains occupied,” Vashadze said.

Finance Minister Kakha Baindurashvili assessed the year 2009 as “normal”. “The year was complicated but the final results are normal however,” he told journalists before the session. None of the institutions had problems with funding, according to Baindurashvili.

Health Minister Alexandre Kvitashvili briefly summed up the year, naming the simplification of legislation in the healthcare sphere as the main achievement of 2009. “One of the most important projects was the insurance programme for the people below the poverty line. 950,000 people below the poverty line have joined this programme,” he told journalists.

The Government will resume work in January 2010.