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Minister claims technical inspection of cars “necessary” from next year

By Messenger staff
Wednesday, September 27
Georgia’s Minister of Economics Giorgi Gakharia claims that cars in Georgia will be “necessarily” inspected from January 1, 2018.

He stressed “one of the best Swiss companies” is working on the concept, and an information campaign is planned before the regulation will come into effect.

“SGS is working on the issue, which is a leading company in terms of the vehicles technical inspection. Two stages of the project have already been completed and the final one is due to be finalized at the end of the month,” Gakharia said.

“From October, we plan to launch an information campaign,” the Minister highlighted.

The Minister stated that activating inspection procedures does not mean that all vehicles will be inspected simultaneously.

“There will be a one-year plan for this,” Gakharia stressed.

He appealed to all to refrain from making prior statements over the issue until the Swiss company reveals its final project.

In November last year, then-Minister of Economics Dimitri Kumsishvili announced that the Government was interested in bringing in mandatory vehicle inspections and was inviting interested companies to show an official Expression of Interest.

“The Government of Georgia wants to create a healthy and safe environment for the citizens of Georgia. To do this, we are resuming mandatory vehicle inspections in Georgia. Not only will this significantly improve the ecological environment, as we all know that vehicles are one of the major contributors to air pollution in Georgia, but [this will also help reduce] car accidents in Georgia,” Kumsishvili said.

Two years ago, in 2015, local authorities tried to introduce mandatory vehicle testing, however the concept was not supported by the public and eventually failed.

Kumsishvili said vehicle inspection centres would be established in every region of Georgia in 2017 to ensure all vehicles meet the European safety standards.

Today there is no mechanism in Georgia to check all safety parameters of vehicles after mandatory vehicle testing was cancelled in 2004. Since then, testing a vehicle’s road-worthiness has been voluntary.

Now Georgian authorities must readdress this issue; within the Georgia-EU Association Agreement signed by both sides in 2014, Georgia is obligated to ensure all vehicles are compliant with EU standards.

Currently, more than 400,000 cars drive along the streets of Georgia's capital – this is twice as many vehicles driving in Tbilisi since 2010.

As pollution is becoming increasingly worse, especially in the capital, there is an urgent need for technical checks of vehicles in the country.

The inspections are very likely to cause anger amongst the public, as outdated vehicles are the only source of transport or income for many people, but the step must be taken and the government must act more effectively to settle the unemployment problem that self-employed taxi and minibus drivers shall face afterwards. For over two decades by now, many have resorted to working as taxi and minibus drivers in old, cheap vehicles after losing their jobs.