Saakashvili plans to overcome economic troubles
By Salome Modebadze
Friday, February 4
President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili met the representatives of the economical team of the Government on February 2. Explaining that the increase of prices on products in Georgia had been caused by global factors, the President encouraged the Government to start working out new plans against the effects of the world economic crisis. Becoming familiar with the reports presented by the Ministers, Saakashvili welcomed the privileges for the Georgian families introduced by the Government.
The implementation of a one-time GEL 20 allowance covering electricity bills has been aimed at “maximally easing the conditions of Georgian families in winter. As the Minister of Energy Alexandre Khetaguri told the President, these allowances are already being printed and will be distributed among families from February 10 until March 15. Finance Minister, Kakha Baindurashvili, said on the same issue that GEL 20 million would be allocated from the state budget for this purpose. The decision has been described by the Government as part of its "anti-inflation" policy to help mitigate inflationary pressure on citizens.
The President supposed that this allowance would be a wonderful relief for the families who could now save money for a couple of months. Families which have no need for state support can give their allowances to poorer acquaintances and better ease their problems. “Even the slightest decrease in prices on electricity during the winter would be a step forward for our country,” Saakashvili said, encouraging the Government to express their solidarity towards the people facing “inflation pressure” nowadays.
Suggesting an increase of local agricultural production Saakashvili spoke of the necessity for ensuring a good harvest in 2011. “If we don’t put money in to agriculture as soon as possible the villages won’t see any benefit from the increasing tourism,” Saakashvili said explaining that “if we don’t feed” ourselves and our visitors, part of the money from tourism will return to our importer countries. Being optimistic of Georgia’s chances for starting corn export the Minister of Agriculture Bakur Kvezereli encouraged more people to become engaged in this program. “This program will bring us three times more harvest than before, thus the income of the producers will increase three-fold,” Kvezereli said introducing the great challenges for people registered in this program.
Encouraging his team to think more about the people and better realize their needs, Saakashvili spoke of infrastructural projects as one of the sources for creating additional jobs. “New jobs will be everywhere we open motorways, buildings, railways and stations and ease the blow of high prices on people employed at these places,” Saakashvili said, stressing that in the country where people have no jobs, increased prices have a serious impact, rather than on the country with a high rate of employment and stable salary.
Hoping that the situation would improve on the local market from April-May, the Georgian President advised the economical team to distribute money sensibly. “Unfortunately our people have a very negative experience from the 1990s [crisis] because the country had no policy and the fiscal institutions were irresponsible at that time but this won’t repeat again,” the President said, encouraging Government representatives to be very careful and attentive towards the issue and do everything possible to overcome inflation.
Talking of inflation as the world's economic problem to The Messenger, analyst Nika Chitadze advised the National Bank of Georgia to work out the relevant monetary policy and develop the bond market aimed at decreasing the effect of inflation on Georgia.