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Government to try and keep gas prices unchanged

Friday, February 6
The Georgian government will begin negotiations regarding gas prices with Azerbaijan’s Socar Company. According to Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, the Georgian side will do everything to avoid an increase in tariffs for natural gas in the country.

According to KazTransGas-Tbilisi, prices on natural gas will increase to 90 tetri for only legal bodies and will not affect individuals. The new tariff system will be launched on March 1.

Gharibashvili stated that tariff increase is associated with a significant change in the rate of the GEL against the dollar.

“We are starting negotiations with Socar. I call on the two deputy prime ministers, together with the Economic Council, which will be involved in this process on my behalf, to resolve the issue in the shortest time,” stated Gharibashvili.

Minister of Energy and Vice Prime Minister Kakhi Kaladze said that even though the tariff increase may be postponed, he has no information about concrete dates.

He added that due to the GeL’s depreciation, KazTransGas and other companies which supply the capital with natural gas face serious problems.

Kaladze said that changes in the gas price might have some impact on electricity fees, he stated that the ministry is discussing the issue with thermo electric power stations.

“They are producing electricity with gas, and you know that 100% of natural gas is imported,” stated Kaladze.

However, former Minister of Energy Davit Mirtskhulava thinks that the electricity price in Georgia will not increase in the near future.

“Now, when 1 USD is 1.97 GEL, Georgia has recourse to avoid a gas tariff increase for thermos-electric power stations, which automatically means that the electricity price will not increase,” stated Mirtskhulava.

Meanwhile, The GEL has depreciated against the dollar again. The National Bank of Georgia has set a new exchange rate. According to the latter, 1 USD will cost 1.99 GEL from February 5.

According to the Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri, in the current situation Georgia will have 4% economic growth in 2015.

The government predicted about 5% economic growth this year.