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Economic team says there is no economic problem in Georgia

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, August 9
"The Georgian economy is not in a catastrophic state and the economic outlook is quite positive." Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Giorgi Kvirikashvili said after the joint meeting of the economic team with Georgian Dream MPs on August 7th.

Kvirikashvili, together with the Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri and Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure Davit Narmania, discussed the country’s economic conditions, statistical data and infrastructural projects with the parliamentary majority behind closed doors.

According to Kvirikashvili, political tension should create healthy debate. The minister said he will meet both with the parliamentary and non-parliamentary opposition in a working environment, without any "didactic tone".

The United National Movement (UNM) presidential candidate Davit Bakradze welcomed Kvirikashvili’s remarks and reiterated his readiness to engage in "issue-based and business-like dialogue...We should put aside our political disagreements and work together for the people." he said.

Parliamentary Chairman Davit Usupashvili said after the meeting that the economic team has given a "full guarantee" that all projects scheduled for this year will be implemented on time. This refers to school textbooks, general insurance and pension increases.

Usupashvili said that the ministers explained that the economic downturn in Georgia began in July 2012 but added that the economy will begin to grow later this year.

Usupashvili said that the situation overall is satisfactory and added that he was confident in the economic team's promises. "We have received an absolute guarantee that all budgetary targets will be met." he said.

Minister of Finance Khaduri also stressed that there are no problems in the Georgian budget. He said the current budget will fund all infrastructure projects and social expenses; while pensions will increase beginning on September 1st.

However, according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia's (GEOSTAT) Georgia’s real GDP grew 1.8% year-on-year in the first half of 2013 but the economy contracted - 0.8%. According to GEOSTAT, the estimated real GDP growth in the second quarter of 2013 was 1.3%.

In reference to this report, Davit Bakradze offered to advise the economic team. However, Minister Khaduri replied on Wednesday that neither he nor his team needs any advice from the parliamentary minority. “UNM had 9 years to build economy” stated Khaduri.