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Survey finds healthy business environment

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, April 23
A new survey from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, finds that the majority of Georgian business people view the country’s business environment positively.

Based on a survey of more than 1 000 Georgian businesses published on April 20, 75% believe that the business environment is fairly or quite attractive. Less than one percent of respondents mentioned having faced corruption in dealing with government agencies, and only 6% of entrepreneurs surveyed have heard about other businesses having encountered corruption.

The survey also revealed that in 2011, larger firms had better growth results than smaller businesses. More than half of large businesses surveyed increased in 2011 compared to 2010, while only 17% of small companies experienced growth, and 43% declined in the same period. The survey also identified the key problems faced by business, including high tax rates and utility costs, poor access to capital, and financial penalties.

Thomas Lubeck, IFC Regional Manager for the South Caucasus, said, “This survey sheds light on Georgia’s outstanding progress in combating corruption and improving the environment for business. It also highlights areas for improvement in the implementation of regulations." He mentioned that the World Bank is working with Georgia to improve the environment for private business and help entrepreneurs benefit from recent reforms.

Georgian business ombudsman Giorgi Pertaia expressed delight regarding the survey, highlighting the decrease in reported corruption and fines compared to previous years. "The most important thing in the survey was the fact that most businessmen [sic] are going to expand their businesses for 2012," he said.

Head of the Revenue Service, Jaba Ebanoidze, believes there is an "optimistic mood in Georgian business." He said that in the past two years, thanks to reforms carried out in his department, business procedures have become simpler.

However, as President of the Small and Middle Business Association, Giorgi Isakadze, noted, the survey should have better address the problems faced by business people. He said that the number one problem faced by small and middle businesses is poor access to financial resources.