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Major Gov’t Reshuffle in Georgia to See Only 6 Employees Laid Off

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, December 7
(TBILISI) — Georgia’s 2018 draft budget, which has already been presented to the Parliament, will not drastically cut the country’s bloated bureaucracy as only six state workers will be made redundant once the number of ministries is reduced from 18 to 14.

The draft budget clearly shows that the changes are only of technical character and do not imply optimization, as previously stated by the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) government.

The merger of the European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Ministry with the Foreign Ministry will not see a single employee made redundant in the process.

The unification of the Environment and Agriculture ministries will have 3,568 employees, only 12 people less than the number of both ministries’ employees when they were separate entities.

A total of 929 employees will work in the newly merged Energy and Economy ministries, including 6 people transferred from the Ministry of Environment.

It is stated, that no cuts are expected once the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs are merged with the the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Education.

Deputy Finance Minister Giorgi Kakauridze recently explained the 2018 draft budget does not imply any personnel budget optimizations after the structural changes take place, a reversal of previous claims by the GD.

“The funding of the ministries from the state budget will be allocated in compliance with the carried out changes,” said Kakauridze, adding that the reorganization process needs time to bring measurable economic benefits. “The budget will be approved in its current form and when the new ministers launch a reorganization that will have a noticeable affect on the economy,” he added.

The opposition United National Movement and European Georgia parties have sharply criticized the move, saying the mergers do little to improve the poor living and working standards in the country.

“As a result of the structural changes, we only see the increased expenses and no benefits,” European Georgia leader Giga Bokeria said.

Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced the reshuffle on November 13.