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The News in Brief

Tuesday, May 1
By Mariam Chanishvili

UNDP Supports Georgia’s Tobacco-control Law

The UN Country Team in Georgia has welcomed the implementation of the tobacco-control legislation endorsed by the Parliament of Georgia a year ago.

“All national stakeholders are encouraged to secure its implementation, and consequently protect present and future generations from catastrophic consequences of tobacco use,” the press release by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Georgia reads.

Starting May 1st, 2018, the following measures enter into force: smoke free policy introducing ban on smoking in enclosed public and workplaces as well as some open areas and in public transport, ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.

“Georgia still belongs to the countries with very high tobacco consumption. Tobacco smoking causes addiction and results into devastating consequences for individuals, their families and all of society,” the statement says.

UNDP Georgia stated that In Georgia the prevalence of smoking among men is among the highest in the world at approximately 57%; the official prevalence rate of smoking among women, despite still being relatively low (about 10%), has almost doubled in the recent years.

“Every fourth child at the age 13-15 year uses tobacco product,” UNDP Georgia reports.

The UN team says that each year, tobacco costs the Georgian economy GEL 824.9 million, equivalent to 2.43% of Georgia’s GDP in 2016, including direct healthcare expenditures totaling GEL 327.3 million, and economic losses due to premature mortality, disability, and workplace costs amounting to GEL 497.5 million.

Private Banks Oppose Regulation Imposed by Central Bank of Georgia

The Director General of the TBC Bank, of one of the most powerful private banks in Georgia, Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, says that the new regulation announced by the National Bank of Georgia will affect private banks active in the country.

The regulations concern not giving loans to those who lack relevant incomes to fulfill financial obligations.

Butskhrikidze claims that the volume of overdue loans is manageable and that the Georgian banking sector is in good condition compared to other Eastern European countries.

“Over the last year, the regulation has been discussed by representatives of the National Bank, as well as by the members of the government. This regulation will reduce the activity of banks and micro financial organizations,” he said.

The National Bank intends to impose regulations on commercial banks, demanding from the banks to refrain from giving loans to people who are likely not to pay them, based on their amount of incomes.

The new regulations will enter into force on May 7, 2018.