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Saakashvili again calls for belt-tightening

By Mzia Kupunia
Monday, October 25
“Every member of society should work to improve himself in order to overcome poverty for good,” said the Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili. He was speaking at the joint session of representatives of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Infrastructure on Friday. “No success can be achieved in conditions of hopelessness and cynicism, the way we had for so many years. People even stop dreaming. But now it is time to create examples of success. Working on even micro-projects is a basis for new achievements,” the President commented.

Although the world economic crisis is not yet over, Georgia has some economic growth, Saakashvili noted, adding that the country “still has a hard period ahead.” He said that increasing inflation was a major concern as it could harm the most vulnerable part of the Georgian population. “A mechanism should work at full strength in order to create prospects for everyone. This should be done within a year and a half,” the President noted.

Everything that is done should be followed by “multiple effect”, Saakashvili said at the session. “We need more privatisation and to attract more investment. We politicians should care about maintaining political stability, so that there is no fear that tomorrow or the day after someone will again decide to sit in a cage and intimidate Georgian society,” the President stated, adding, “Our society has overcome this stage for good. Now we should continue working in every direction. We should be always in a good shape.” he added.

In conditions when the cost of food on the world market is increasing and affects food prices in Georgia, hurting our population, people might ask what’s the use of building a glass bridge in Tbilisi or pouring sand on Batumi beach, Saakashvili said, explaining that the aim of all these investments is to attract more investments in the future.

“For example, if we have 100 million and distribute this money to the poor in addition to what they already receive, the money will be exhausted in two months and Georgia will stay without any income in the future,” he stated, listing investments, infrastructure, tourism, Georgian products and new businesses in agriculture or other fields as sources of income for the country. He pointed out, “We should not forget that every newly constructed road, each tourist or each newly opened business employs people.”

Everyone including the President and the Prime Minister should be promoting Georgia, Saakashvili noted. “I am actually no longer of an age to show off my muscles in the sun, but because it is something that is broadcast in the international news, yesterday I jumped in the sea and swam to show that we have prospects for developing coastal resorts,” he said.

Saakashvili hailed the construction of a new road to Samtskhe-Javakheti, saying that it has not only infrastructural, but also political importance. “Javakheti is populated with ethnic Armenians and Georgian Armenians; however they were completely isolated from the rest of Georgia [due to road problem]. It was easier for them to go to Yerevan [than to Tbilisi],” he noted. “Although we sent Georgian language teachers to that region, the locals showed very little interest in learning Georgian,” he added, reiterating that the construction of new road helps the integration of the ethnic Armenian population with the rest of Georgia.

Georgian Government members should “tighten their belts” in order to “make a leap forward,” Saakashvili said at the session. “We have chosen the right idea because whatever we are doing, we do it as best as we can for future generations,” the President declared.