2011 State Budget under heavy scrutiny from opposition
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, October 22The projected 2011 state budget has been described as useless and unacceptable by both Parliamentary and non Parliamentary opposition, in a statement made by the leader of Our Georgia- Free Democrats, Irakli Alasania and by the Christian-Democratic Movement, on October 21. However, the authorities' attitude differs significantly.
“This is the projected budget suggested by an irresponsible authority. We, and I mean not only opposition representatives but the public organizations as well, should put pressure on the authorities, so that the budget is not confirmed in its current state. The financing of such departments as healthcare, agriculture and education is decreased based on the projected budget. The authorities have stated that budget increase but it is not realistic, as there are serious economics problems, “Alasania said.
The Christian-Democrats demand the withdrawal of the projected budget by the President, as, according to them, the project is so unfit it is not worthy of discussion, “There are black holes in the project, especially when we talk about the President’s and Government’s reserve funds. There are allocated very significant finances; however it is unclear for what those sums are targeted. If the budget is confirmed, a serious collapse is expected, “ the Movement leader, Giorgi Targamadze, said.
One of the main aspects, which has aroused opposition parties' protests regarding the projected budget is the healthcare system, as it has not been named as a priority by the Finance Minister, Kahka Baindurashvili. However, the Minister and the authorities have explained this situation as well as other problematic issues voiced by the opposition, “The priorities of the projected 2011 state budget are: education, agriculture, road infrastructure and water provision issues, “ Baindurashvili said. The fact that the healthcare system has not been voiced among the priorities has been explained by MP, Zurab Melikishvili, “The authority can not speak on the healthcare issues now, because, at the present moment there are no common views on the financing of different healthcare programmes. We are still working on the issue. The healthcare finance assistance from the state budget would be increased by 1 million and will add up to GEL 1 570 000 000,” Melikishvili said.
As Economic Analyst, Davit Narmania told The Messenger, “There are three main points concerning the projected 2011 budget. First of all, the projected budget needs to be more detailed before it is delivered to the Parliament for discussion. By November 15, all the expenses and all financial activities should be described in detail. At the present moment, the budget is not precise. Secondly, the projected budget of 2011 is more realistic compared with 2010, as during the discussion of the state budget of 2010, it was not foreseen that there would be a post crisis period and that the authority would have to carry out some additional administrative activities which affected the budget. Finally, as for the priorities, I think that making agriculture one of the priorities in the 2011 state budget was the right decision. This area really needs assistance and it will have positive results from the point of view of export, as well as employment,” Narmania said and added, “Healthcare and the issue of social services and their place in the state budget should be clearly presented in the project. Herewith, it would be nice if the project was accompanied by a list, which shows expressly how this year's budget compares with the last one. This is needed because the authority frequently talks and goes on about its so called tightening the belts policy. Society should know, if the institutions really preserve the funds and, if so, how much do they preserve, “Narmania said.