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PM says opponents try to mislead people on moratorium of selling agricultural lands

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, September 13
Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili has released a special statement in which he accused his party’s political opponents of misleading people over the moratorium of selling agricultural lands to foreign citizens.

The PM says such a moratorium has existed since 2013 and now, after the constitutional draft is being adopted, a new constitution will include the prohibition.

“Agricultural land was recognized as a strategic resource by the initiative of our government [in 2013] and restrictions were imposed on its alienation to foreigners; in this regard, a special amendment was made to the draft constitution,” Kvirikashvili said.

“The statements that the temporary change in the moratorium is not in compliance with the constitution are not true. The change applies only to the financial sector and for a limited period,” Kvirikashvili explained.

He stressed that the financial institutions and banks will be allowed to temporarily register the ownership of agricultural lands with the restriction that they will sell the land in a certain period of time only to Georgian citizens.

Georgia’s Economic Minister Levan Davitashvili dismisses the opposition’s statements that such a moratorium affects the state economy.

“Some lands were alienated but without having any positive effect on the country’s agricultural development,” the Minister stated.

The United National Movement and the European Georgia opposition say the moratorium is a “populist step” before the upcoming local elections next month.

“It is an economically unbeneficial decision,” UNM member Roman Gotsiridze said.

Under Georgia’s revised draft constitution, agricultural lands cannot be sold to foreign citizens, foreign-registered companies, and companies registered by a foreign national in Georgia.