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The President of Georgia opened gas-main pipeline in Poti

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, January 26
President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili opened the main gas pipeline in Poti on Monday. As part of the President’s initiative “Gas for every village in Georgia” Poti’s 'gasification' is supposed to be complete in 18 months. Talking of the importance of the initiative both for the development of local infrastructure and attracting international investors, Saakashvili hoped that Poti would become a valuable city in about five years by developing the local industry. Calling the day “historical” Saakashvili welcomed the contribution of Americans (under the framework of the Millennium Challenge Programme) in bringing the pipeline enabling Socar to create a cell around the country.

Explaining the conditions of the long-term contract between Georgia and Azerbaijan, Saakashvili stressed that the price on natural gas would remain the same for our country despite the increase on the world market. “Our economy is not growing the way we want, but we still have growth and everything is comparable, without that everything would turn into a real tragedy,” he said adding that cooperation and friendship with Azerbaijan resulted in the stable provision of energy necessary for our development.

Planning to turn Poti into a city with 100% of employment, the President pointed out the necessity of establishing large enterprises there. Worrying that none of the previous governments have done anything special in that area, Saakashvili hoped that the water and gas pipelines, electricity plus communications (during his governance) have made it possible to create the relevant conditions to attract investors.

Visiting the modern Economic Zone of Registration in Adlia, Samegrelo, Saakashvili passed through all the procedures at the office and appeared very pleased with the service. “We have solved the main problem by defeating corruption using strict methods. But it’s time we moved to a flexible system, with comfortable services and smiling faces. This should become the basis of business development in our country and encourage economic growth. We want to make people feel that doing business in Georgia is easy,” the President addressed the staff.

Saakashvili visited new resort zone in Khulo region

A new sports complex with a ski slope and a ski lift opened in Khulo district in Adjara on the same day. Local children will be trained in Danisparauli village for championship and in the future the village will also host tourists. Visiting the complex with the Head of the Adjara Government Levan Varshalomidze, Saakashvili shared the projects aimed at developing tourist infrastructure in the region. Hoping that the new base would be better than all the others the President promised that money received from the Millennium [Challenge Corporation] would be used for road rehabilitation purposes.

Saakashvili noted that Alpine skiing is an elite sport for 20-30 thousand wealthy and middle class families living in the centre of Tbilisi and has the possibility to become one of the main bases of economical development of our country. “We should turn skiing into a massive sport available for everyone. That’s why schools will receive skis free,” Saakashvili said. He added, “We are initiating starting an experimental production of local skis,” confident that tourism development will be the means to pass from poverty to wealth.

Economic analyst Gia Khukhashvili doubts the efficiency of the President’s policy. “I think the much-talked about tourism can’t fully ensure economical growth without systemic changes. We have lots of experienced rivals in this direction; moreover our climate, infrastructure, etc are not suitable for a “tourist country”. Steps should definitely be made in this direction but Georgia is no Turkey or Egypt and should not build its economical development on tourism alone,” Khukhashvili told The Messenger.