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Government’s Voucher Programme Underway

Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, February 23
During yesterday’s regular briefing, the President’s Press spokesperson, Manana Manjgaladze, shared the Government’s plans in response to global inflation and the rising cost of food. Speaking about the activities carried out by the Government to alleviate the pressure on the world market, Manjgaladze said that the distribution of GEL 20 electricity allowances [which started on February 10] has “entered the active phase.” 97% of vouchers in Tbilisi and 80% in the regions have been delivered to the relevant addresses. Manjgaladze predicted that according to these figures, the process should be completed this week.

Manjgaladze claimed that every family will receive the allowance and any possible omissions during the distribution process will be eradicated by joint measures carried out by the Ministries of Health, Labour and Social Affairs, and Energy. “In addition, at the order of the President, regional Governors are also involved in the voucher distribution process,” added President’s spokesperson. The Georgian Government has also begun working on the food voucher programme; the distribution process for the entire country will begin on March 10. Appealing to the people to express solidarity towards one another, President Saakashvili encouraged everyone to give their vouchers to their compatriots in greater need.

Discussing the prospects for local agriculture Manjgaladze spoke of the necessity for developing the field. Agricultural development, according to Manjgaladze has been the “most important and effective prevention against the growth of prices on world markets.” The Ministry of Agriculture will be allocated GEL 150 million to carry out essential regional programmes. The Ministry will also continue providing infrastructural facilities and various encouraging activities within the country. “The Georgian Government will do everything it can to minimize the affect of global inflation,” Manjgaladze stated.

The Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) expressed concern regarding the problems of the electricity vouchers in villages with collective meters. Giving several examples, Levan Vepkhvadze CDM MP demanded that the Government consider all such gaps and react appropriately to the issue. Stressing that the distribution of allowances has been “proof of the destruction of the Government’s virtual reality”, the MP spoke of the difficult living conditions people face in the regions. “People consider these allowances their “only means for survival.” This shows that our country is not in the “virtual conditions” which the Government tries to prove to us from TV,” Vepkhvadze said worrying that Georgians have become “beggars” for GEL 20-30.

First Deputy Chairman of Parliament, Mikheil Machavariani stressed that none of the gaps during the distribution process will remain unanswered. “The Government has been actively working on the issue. Majority MPs are studying the cases on the spot,” Machavariani said explaining that the collective meters had been the only way to provide people with electricity in the past. Explaining that it’s up to the private companies to provide the villages with individual meters, Machavariani said these companies will fully meet their obligations and ensure constant electricity.

Majority MP Petre Tsiskarishvili said the Government has never shut their eyes on the problems that exist in Georgia. He claimed that everyone in the country “from the President to MPs” is always discussing the real problems and challenges the country and its people face nowadays. Talking of “the successful reforms” carried out in our country Tsiskarishvili encouraged the opposition to share Georgia’s success story to the international community themselves.