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The News in Brief

Thursday, March 29
IMF finances next year's programs by $387M

Government programs for the year 2012-2013 are being partially financed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to a tune of $387 million USD.

As IMF Senior Resident Representative in Georgia Edward Gardner said, the Fund and the government of Georgia signed an agreement to launch a new 24-month economic and financial program, in which the government will allocate the money where they deem it necessary.

The agreement will be presented to the Executive Board of the IMF for approval on April 11.

Gardner explained that the program logically continues a 33-month economic support program that ended on June 14, 2011. Georgia received $893 million USD from the IMF in the framework of previous programs.

He noted that the targets of the program have largely been achieved, as the economy was stabilized, a 7% economic increase was observed, fiscal corrections took place, private capital was attracted, and inflation remained low. The government’s debt does not exceed 34% of GDP, and international reserves are over $2.8 billion USD.

Gardner did warn that despite these achievements, the country faces challenges linked with the unstable global economic situation.

However, despite the current risks, Georgia’s perspective is a hopeful one for 2012, as the economy is expected to grow by 6%. Even if the foreign economic situation deteriorates, Georgia will manage to use the funds granted by the IMF program.

Gardner remarked that the new program aims at increasing fiscal reserves, improving balance, restoring market confidence, and acting as a catalyst in attracting financial resources from various sources. The mid-term challenge for Georgia remains to decrease unemployment and its payment balance. (IPN)

$60M loan for Kakheti rehabilitation project

The World Bank has allocated a low-interest loan of $60 million USD to Georgia's government, intended for a large-scale rehabilitation project in Kakheti.

Minister of Finance Dimitri Gvindadze said that the contract envisages long-term and privileged conditions for the loan. The project will be implemented with the coordination of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure.

The contract was signed at the Ministry of Finance by Gvindadze and World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus Asad Alam. Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Ramaz Nikolaishvili and head of the National Agency of Protection of Cultural Heritage, Nikoloz Vacheishvili, were also in attendance. (Rustavi 2)

Anti-Corruption Council discusses action plan

The Anti-Corruption Council assembled Tuesday to discuss their action plan for 2012-2013.

A session held at the Ministry of Justice included representatives of the Coordinating Council, NGOs, and all three branches of government. Participants discussed key points of the action plan and the means of their implementation.

The Council also discussed those measures that have already been carried out, and hailed improvements in the public service sector in particular.

The opening of a new Court House in Tbilisi and the Village Development Centers were assessed as successful public service innovations. (Rustavi 2)

Rurua not informed of dismissed Young Audience Theatre employees

Minister of Culture Nika Rurua has no information about the dismissal of 40 employees from Nodar Dumbadze's Young Artist Theatre.

The Minister told journalists at a government session that the courts must handle any violation of the law, if a violation is indeed present.

“The theatre director makes such a decision, he has a right to do this,” Rurua said.

The dismissal was confirmed by the Theatre, which is undergoing a period of reorganization. (IPN)

Tower of chacha to open in Batumi

An incredible new fountain will soon open in the seaside city of Batumi, which hopes to attract more visitors to one of the most popular tourist destinations in Georgia.

The new fountain – currently under construction at the top of a tower on Gogebashvili Street – has a distinguishing characteristic: for 10-15 minutes once a week, the infamous Georgian alcoholic beverage chacha will flow from it, instead of water. This time will be offered to businesses for advertising.

Alongside the fountain of chacha, the 25-metre-high tower will host retail space and a tourism office. (Rustavi 2)