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Money, money, money

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, November 15
When Georgian billionaire and philanthropist Bidzina Ivanishvili decided to take part in politics and eventually became the PM of Georgia in October 2011, most within the Georgian population had a feeling of relief.

Hope had appeared.

A man who accumulated such wealth and donated to so many charitable causes would do something really good for the country was the general belief. During his campaign, Ivanishvili promised much to the Georgian population, explaining that nothing comes quick in a twinkle of an eye. His efforts would need some time.

Now he is in power and all the responsibilities are placed squarely on his shoulders. However, the situation in the country at the moment is very dire. It seems that the previous administration was involved in very irresponsible if not criminal financial activities. An increasing number of violations, abuses, incidents of mistreatment and the expenditure of state funds have been revealed. Many sectors of the economy have suffered tremendous failures in management and financial cash flow.

For many years during the previous administration, journalists and analysts tried in vain to obtain details concerning the expenditure of state budgetary money. The previous administration refused to provide answers. For instance, until recently it was not known how much money was been spent on the construction of the new parliament building in Kutaisi. 360 million GEL is the official price tag, but there are skeptics who suggest that the costs exceeded this figure. A special investigation should be carried out to make this clear. Further, it is not known yet, which organization owns the land where this monstrosity sits. No state experts have carried out an inspection on the quality of the construction and it is not clearly known who is responsible for the construction and many other technical details.

There were millions of GEL spent in the construction of Anaklia, located on the Black Sea coast. Hotels, a bridge and a restaurant… they have all been built with state money. Presumably, this project will die soon and all these construction projects will also slowly but steadily die. An unidentified building has begun to be constructed in the ghost town of Lazika next to Anaklia. Presumably this building would have been the house of justice. Ironically, this building will have no one to serve, as there are no people living in this area.

Though the Ministry of Infrastructure carried out surveys and studies of some projects belonging to the state's infrastructure, it appeared that many projects have not been completed at all, yet the funds had been transferred in advance. There are multiple construction projects taking place currently in Tbilisi, some of them have irritated Tbilisi citizens. Many people are confused by appearance of two funny tubes of incredible size at Rike Park near the river. The center of the capital became an experimental field suiting the tastes of one person only – the president. No survey of public opinion, no advice was requested by experts and specialists... no consultations with anybody. Everything was done under the dictate of one personality. The same could be applied to the construction carried out intensively in Batumi. A special case is the president’s palace in Tbilisi. The approximate amount of money spent on this is also unknown. Presumably, this kind of building would have consumed hundreds of millions of dollars.

One thing is known for certain however; every month the palace electricity bill comes around 800, 000 GEL.

A separate topic is the musical events conducted by state authorities under the orders of President Saakashvili: Toto Cutugno, Julio Iglesias, Jose Carreras, Chris de Burgh, Andrea Bocelli, Sting and many others were invited for concerts and millions of dollars were spent for these occasions. Nobody could doubt that inviting such famous celebrities is a great honor for the country, but when more than half of the population is unemployed and live beyond the poverty line and pensions in the country are well behind the existing minimum, when the country is full of IDPs and when there are gaps and failures within the agricultural sector– it is a shame to spend such a huge amount of money on entertainment.

So, the current leadership has received a very poor situation and it will take some time to recover from the mess the previous administration left behind. PM Ivanishvili is not a magician, he cannot create miracles. However, we hope he can create good management and this will lead the country to the fulfillment of the Georgian Dream.