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The News in Brief

Friday, June 26
Govt Unveils Planned Budgetary Revision

To keep the deficit at a “low level”, the Finance Ministry said it also plans to cut funding of various projects, which are not specified in the summary, by GEL 67 million. Economic slowdown has forced the government to cut initially targeted GEL 7.6 billion in tax revenues for 2015 fiscal year by GEL 200 million.

The Finance Ministry said that due to negative external factors, Georgia’s economy will expand 2% this year, instead of initially expected 5%.

Back in December, when the Parliament was discussing the 2015 state budget, lawmakers from the opposition UNM party were warning the government that target of GEL 7.6 billion tax revenue was unrealistic.

The government first acknowledged the need to more than halve 5% economic growth forecast and to revise the state budget in February, but the amendments were finalized this week.

Economy grew 2.6% year-on-year in the first four months of this year.

The draft, according to the Finance Ministry, also includes changes, which became necessary to cover part of the damage caused by the deadly flood in Tbilisi on June 13-14.

According to a summary of planned budgetary amendments, released by the Ministry of Finance, total of GEL 140 million spending cut will affect number of ministries and state agencies of which slightly over GEL 70m will be cut from the state funding and another half will be cut from the funds, which were envisaged in grants from donors.

The Finance Ministry said that despite of GEL 200 million cut in tax revenues, additional funds will be raised from various sources, which will allow the government to keep initially planned overall amount of budget expenditures unchanged.

As a result of “negotiations with donors”, the Finance Ministry said GEL 184m will be raised in loans and GEL 40m in budgetary support grants.

It also said that it expects an additional GEL 150 million from mobile operators in license fees for spectrum used to provide 4G services.

Breakdown of expected GEL 53.5 million spending cut per ministries is as follows:

Education Ministry’s GEL 853.9m funding will go down by GEL 12 million;

Interior Ministry’s GEL 638.7m funding will see GEL 10m cut;

Agriculture Ministry’s GEL 292.9m funding will be reduced by GEL 8m;

Finance Ministry’s GEL 100m funding will be cut by GEL 7m;

Parliament’s GEL 52m funding will be reduced by GEL 6m;

Defense Ministry will see GEL 5m spending cut from its current GEL 640m funding;

Prison system ministry’s GEL 155m funding will go down by GEL 3.5m;

Environment Protection Ministry’s GEL 39m funding will be reduced by GEL 2m

On top of that GEL 53.5m, GEL 17m spending cut will also apply some other state agencies.

There will also be GEL 70m spending cut from grant funds, which were initially envisaged from donors – these cuts will apply Ministry for Regional Development and Infrastructure; Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Agriculture.

According to the Finance Ministry’s about GEL 85 million of planned GEL 140 funding cut to various ministries and state agencies will be redirected towards various infrastructure projects, as well as towards covering part of the damage caused by the Tbilisi flooding. (Civil. ge)

Supreme Court releases statement concerning the so-called Cables Case

The Supreme Court of Georgia has released a statement concerning some information that was spread in relation to the so-called Cables Case.

“The Supreme Court Administration would like to note that the so-called Cables Case is still in progress. The next pre-trial session is set to be held at 11:00 on June 26. Both sides have equal rights to appeal any court decision or submitted documents in accordance with the corresponding regulations.

Any statement made by the high court might be perceived as an attempt to pressure the court itself, which will damage the interests of justice. The Supreme Court Administration declares that it would be inappropriate to make any other comments or statements as it is against the interests of objective justice and those taking part in this legal process,”- says the statement.

Rustavi TV 2 stated that the judge in the so-called Cables Case Nugzar Jugheli was pressured by Supreme Court Head Nino Gvenetadze and Jugheli requested political asylum at the Italian and U.S. embassies. According to Rustavi 2, head of the Council of Justice Levan Murusidze stated this information was not known to him and he will certainly look into it. (IPN)

Lost hyena found dead at zoo

A hyena was found in the Tbilisi Zoo during the clean-up operation.

A tiger is still considered as missing. Salima was lost 10 days ago.

The heavy equipment works in the Zoo. Water is being pumped from the cages.

Rescuers found a body of the raccoon today.

Clearance and search operation continues in Mziuri as well. The mayor of Tbilisi has visited the disaster area. (Rustavi2)