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Gov’t economic team not responsible for Lari problems

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, December 21
Member of the ruling party Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia and Vice-Speaker, Tamar Chugoshvili, stated that the depreciation of Georgia’s national currency against the United States dollar had nothing to do with the government’s economic team and was caused by the strengthening of the US dollar against all other currencies in the region.

Chugoshvili made the statement in response to statements from the main opposition party, the United National Movement (UNM), whose leader Davit Bakradze had called on the Minister of Finance Dimitri Kumsishvili and Economy Minister Giorgi Gakharia to attend the joint session of the parliamentary minority factions, which will be dedicated to the issue of the depreciation of the national currency.

Chugoshvili stressed that Parliament had active cooperation with the economic team of the government and additional summoning of the Ministers was not necessary.

“At the moment there is no need for the extra invitation of the government’s economic team. We have constant formal and informal communication with them," Chugoshvili said.

Moreover, she says that the opposition’s speculations that the Lari’s devaluation was caused by the government’s new economic plan were simply not true.

“Our opponents are manipulating this issue. They say that the government’s economic plan leads to GEL devaluation, which is not true. The dollar is strengthening against all currencies…the main thing is to keep the inflation rate and not to let it negatively affect Georgian people,” she stated.

UNM member Davit Bakradze stated at a press conference on Tuesday that the ministers must present an action plan that will protect the national currency from further depreciation at the session scheduled for 28 December.

"Pursuant to the Parliament’s rules, I appeal to the economic team to attend the joint session of the parliamentary minority factions, which will focus on the issue of the current difficult economic situation - the devaluation of the GEL", Bakradze said, and gave the Economic and Finance Ministers one week to prepare an action plan.

He believes that the government should provide society with detailed information about the recent economic situation in the country.

“The government should inform its citizens what steps it is going to take or how it is going to protect the population from the further devaluation of the national currency,” stressed Bakradze.

The December 20 exchange rate saw the Lari depreciation hit its peak as 1 USD equaled 2.7412 GEL. The previous rate was 2.6837 GEL. Similarly, 1 EUR costs 2.8615 GEL, while the previous rate was 2.8050 GEL.

Historically, the Georgian Lari reached an all-time high of 2.74 on December 20, 2016 and a record low of 1.23 in December, 1995.