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Opposition blames ruling GD party for lari devaluation

By Tea Mariamidze
Wednesday, November 1
The recent devaluation of the Georgian national currency, the lari (GEL) against the US dollar has raised concern among the country’s opposition parties. The opposition has blamed the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) government, especially the ministries of Economics, Finance and the National Bank of Georgia (NBG).

The dollar’s official price has become 2.5873 GEL. The National Bank of Georgia set a new exchange rate, according to which 1 USD costs 2.5873 GEL while the previous rate was 2.5612 GEL.

As for the Euro, its new exchange rate has still exceeds 3.00 GEL, hitting 3.0106. The previous exchange rate was 2.9766 GEL.

The United National Movement (UNM) opposition party predicts the further depreciation of the GEL, adding that this will lead to an even worse economic situation in the country.

“The lives of our citizens have become unbearable as the prices are increasing. This is our government’s fault, which shows us false numbers and hides the reality,” UNM member Zurab Melikishvili stated.

The European Georgia party claims that the devaluation of the GEL clearly demonstrates the absence of a healthy economic system in the country.

“We know the only way out of this crisis: a reduction of taxes and proper planning of the state budget,” European Georgia member Zurab Chiaberashvili said.

NBG Vice-President Archil Mestvirishvili says that Georgian lari is a “floating currency” and its fluctuation is quite normal.

“The medium and long term course is not in danger. As for the short-term period, the decisions of specific business subjects, individuals or companies, who make decisions based on their expectations, naturally affects the currency,” said Mestvirishvili.

Economic expert Levan Kalandadze believes that one of the factors that promotes the lari’s depreciation may be speculative operations carried out by banks.

“Speculative operations are not anything wrong, nor are they prohibited by law. These are usual business operations that are being run everywhere, but the problem here is that speculative operations can affect the national currency rate,” he stated.

Initially the GEL began to lose its value in November 2014. At that time, one US dollar was equivalent to 1.75 lari.