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Georgian president touts party plans on social benefits

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, July 19
Our promises always come true, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili said in the Gldani district on July 17. Speaking on the challenges Georgia is facing nowadays Saakashvili told the local population that the state would overcome unemployment and ensure that the people have permanent income.

Saakashvili focused on the priorities of the United National Movement (UNM). One of which is manifested in the ‘Treaty with Georgia’ he has recently signed with newly appointed PM Vano Merabishvili. Under the slogan ‘More Benefit to People,’ the treaty aims at making every person feel the success of the country individually.

Stressing that a lot of families remain in poverty and have no jobs, the treaty promises that unemployment would diminish by half; everyone in the county would have health insurance; villages will have water and gas supplies, less infrastructural problems, 90% of land will be utilized, 2, 000 new tractors will be used for agricultural purposes; and every family will receive GEL 1, 000 assistance for their additional expenses.

Confident in the success of his ambitious plans, President Saakashvili explained how exemplary Georgian reforms within the Ministry of Justice and the penitentiary system have become for the West. “I am not advertizing it but the French are learning how to manage their prisons,” he said

He promised to restore social equality in the country so that every person could access healthcare services and education.

The State Ministry of Employment would define whether the qualifications of a person are relevant to the modern standards or ensure the re-training of people. “We should create a bank of employers,” Saakashvili said, explaining that there are 6, 000 vacancies in Tbilisi but there is no connection between the employers and employees.

He said although people in Georgia do not have the same income as in those living in Singapore, Hong Kong, or even some post-Soviet countries, Georgia has exceeded them with its economic growth. He said despite the country’s success, each and every family focuses on their own prospects. “It is important that a person who has lost income at the age of 50 not have the sense that life is over,” he said, stressing that 80% of people graduating the vocational colleges can easily find jobs.

Saakashvili did not agree with the idea that people lived well in Soviet times. He said in the Mukhiani district where he lived in those times, he had water only for 3 hours a day and heated it on a gas stove in order to bathe while the situation in Georgia has changed since the Rose Revolution so that the country has nothing to step back to.

He said the new treaty offers a good prospective which is the protection of the future of the country.

But according to economic analyst Gia Khukhashvili, UNM’s promises have lost their sense. Khukhashvili says that by talking about Georgia’s unemployment problems after 8 years of governance, the UNM has practically “admitted failure.” He said it is time that they leave their positions because the Georgian people have experienced how they break different treaties during these years.