Overcoming harsh economic realities
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, March 1
In a meeting with majority representatives yesterday, President Mikheil Saakashvili stated Georgia will be able to overcome the current harsh economic reality caused by price increases by supporting the business sector and forming an environment which supports profits for this sector.
“The world’s biggest countries have been seriously affected as a result of the current economic reality and increase in world oil prices. We should try our best to protect the country from serious economic threats. If we act sensibly, Georgia will be able not only to overcome the difficulties, but also to emerge from the crisis as a powerful country,” the President stated giving of what the authorities should do to achieve this. He said, “We should give business the maximum possible freedom and create the optimum advantageous environment for its development in Georgia. We should preserve Georgia’s main advantage Georgia – state tax and judiciary systems free from corruption and a good tax environment in the country.” Apart from the business sector, Saakashvili also requested the majority representatives to have closer relations with ordinary people. “Increased prices particularly affect ordinary citizens, salaries are not enough and there is a problem of unemployment in the country. In this situation, the state should fully use and share its resources and support the people.”
Majority representative, Goka Gabashvili said that several projects were discussed during the meeting, “We have already launched several projects to support Georgian citizens during these hard times and also to develop our agriculture, so that the country is not dependant on imported products. Development of the agricultural sector and the serious investment which has been carried out in this field will enable us to produce essential products within the country, while at the same time thinking about exports.”
The Opposition’s view on the issue differs greatly from that of the majority. Almost every opposition party states that the current authorities have no real plan on how to combat inflation and the serious current economic problems.
Economic analyst, Demur Giorkhelidze believes that Georgia’s current economic policy does not see the private sector as its basis and this is the main cause of the country’s economic problems. “The fact that a business can be set up easily in Georgia is true, however simplifying start up procedures for companies does not mean simplifying business manufacturing. We do not have the same economic target as every developed country – i.e. development of the private sector. Those countries do their best to encourage the private sector; we have not done anything like this, which is the reason for the country’s high unemployment.” The main aim of economic policy – meaning powerful private sector and massive middle business are still unachievable in the country, moreover, we have not yet started moving in this direction. This is the biggest problem of the Georgian economy.”