Optimization Process of Ministries Brings some Controversies
Friday, November 17The major government reshuffle announced by Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili on November 13 has caused a controversy among different sectors.
The new government reshuffle also means integration of a number of Ministries as a result of which their number will be reduced from 18 to 14.
The new changes entail that:
• Ministry of Energy will be integrated with Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development;
• Youth Affairs, a component of former Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia, will be united with Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia;
• Sport, a component of former Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs of Georgia, will be united with Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia;
• Natural Resource Management component from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection will be integrated with Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development;
• Environment Protection component of Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection will be united with Ministry of Agriculture;
• Office of the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration will be integrated with Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia.
A total number of employees from abolished Ministries are 2888, out of which the highest number 2398 employees comes from Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection.
Giorgi Abashishvili, Head of the Administration of President, positively evaluates the reforms.
"We believe that changes in the direction of culture, education and foreign policy will be significant and positive," said Abashishvili. "As for changes in the field of economy, energy, agriculture and environmental protection, we believe that they will make the government more effective."
However, several members of the majority do not agree with some of the upcoming changes. MP Revaz Arveladze from the ruling Georgian Dream welcomes the integration of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Office of the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic integration. However, he believes integration of the Ministry of Energy with the Ministry of Economy is ‘premature:’
“The energy sector is not strong enough and I believe it needs to be taken care individually. I think that uniting the Ministries of Energy and Economy is a bit premature, since there are many issues to be solved in the Ministry of Energy, for more effective and qualitative solutions, " stated Arveladze. “I think it would be better if there is a particular Minister responsible for it," he added.
The expert Gia Khukhashvili criticized the government’s decision on integration of the natural resources management component of former Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection with the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.
"When environmental problems in the world are one of the top priorities, in this situation, the integration of natural resources management to the Ministry of Economy raises questions about the conflict of interest.Often environmental and economic interests are contradictory to one another. And after the management of environmental component is handed to the Ministry of Economy, it will be hard to predict how it will work,” stated Khukhashvili.
Khatuna Gogaladze, who was the first Minister of Environment Protection in 2012-2014 after the ruling Georgian Dream came to power, criticized the initiative as well.
"This amendment is not an optimization, it is an abolition of the Natural Resource Component of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection,” stated Gogaladze.