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KazTransGas not to suspend activity in Georgia, Minister says

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Tuesday, October 20
Georgia has no serious problems with the KazTransGas company and there is no hint that the company might suspend the provision of gas to Georgia, Georgia’s Minister of Economics, Dimitri Kumsishvili, told the Kviris Palitra newspaper.

The Minister stressed that are some issues to be settled, but only in terms of technical topics.

“This is a case which must be completed by negotiations between us and the Kazakh side. I had a meeting with my counterpart, the Kazakh Minister of Economics, and we agreed to renew our working group within a week and to make concrete decisions.

“We may differ on some issues, but these are technical details. As for the investments, I cannot say anything in advance, but I have not received even any hints about it,” stated Kumsishvili.

The KazTransGas Company had made a statement about an alleged withdrawal from Georgia on October 6.

According to the statement made by the KazTransGas Company, the rights of foreign investors were violated by appointing a special manager in KazTransGas -Tbilisi in 2009. They demanded the right to appoint their own representative in the Tbilisi office.

On another note, the Minister also said that the exchange rate of the Georgian national currency, the GEL, will start to stabilize soon.

According to him, analysis showed that the GEL is impaired much more then it must be based on macroeconomic parameters.

“Imports were decreased by 850 million USD, export was decreased by 450 million USD and money transfers by 250 million USD,” stated the Minister. According to the statistics, the pressure of the dollar on the GEL is less with 100-150 million then it was in the same period of time last year.

“We also must take into account that the National Bank of Georgia (NBG) sold over 390 million USD. Also, we had 530 million USD investments in the first two quarters. After this date, if we analyze the situation and pay attention to the fact that many individuals and companies bought dollars due to a panic over the currency, this money soon must be spent, and this will cause the normalization of GEL,” stated Kumsishvili.

The GEL started to depreciate at the end of autumn 2014, and twice reached its lowest historical level.