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Produce in Georgia- advantages and skepticism

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, June 10
Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili presented a state program entitled Produce in Georgia to the business sector on June 5. The meeting was attended by 400 entrepreneurs. The program has a budget of 46 million GEL. Out of this sum, 30 million will be spent on agriculture and 16 million on industrial projects. The program aims at promoting entrepreneurship in Georgia, stimulating local production – especially in less developed regions, creating new jobs, increasing export potential, creating Georgian products, and encouraging quality and production-oriented industry development.

The minister stressed that the program is “a unique opportunity” for all beginning entrepreneurs to construct new enterprises both in agricultural and non-agricultural fields.

The Presidentof the Association of Banks of Georgia Zurab Gvasalia stated that the main aim of the meeting was to provide comprehensive answers to businessmen and women.

"The main questions were related to the conditions and details of the program. Questions have been asked regarding banks as well,” Gvasalia said.

Head of the Entrepreneurship Development Agency Giorgi Tsirkolia explains that that this program can have two categories of beneficiaries: people with particular business plans and some experience, and individuals who have a financial background.

“People who were rejected by the banks to have their business financed now have a stimulus, as the government will be their guarantors to the banks during the first two years at least,” Tsikolia said. He emphasized that the government is even ready to deliver state-owned lands to businesspersons at a symbolic price of GEL 1 if they have interesting plans and certain financial guarantees.

“The property value that the government would be able to hand over to the business starts from 30,000 GEL and goes up to one million and a half,” Tsikolia stated.

However, the Head of the Economic Development Center Roman Gotsiridze is quite skeptical about the initiative. He states that the programme suggested by the ministry creates unequal conditions for businesses and contains corruption risks.

Gotsiridze is afraid that providing land at a symbolic price might become a “major source of corruption”, and business might be selected based on relationships.

“We faced the same problem under the previous government. We might face the problem under the current government as well,” Gotsiridze warns.