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The PM Candidate Vows Increased Pension and Reduced Poverty

By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, June 21
Georgian PM Candidate, Mamuka Bakhtadze, claims pension will increase by GEL 20 in 2019 and by 20 more Lari in 2020. It means that the pension (currently GEL 180) will reach 220 Lari in two years.

Bakhtadze made the statement at the extraordinary session of the parliament on Wednesday, where lawmakers discussed the issues related to a vote of confidence to the new Cabinet and its program.

The PM designate stated the government will continue targeted social programs to improve the material situation of vulnerable groups, adding programs to improve physical and social conditions of disabled and elderly people and careless children will be enhanced.

“Within the frameworks of these efforts, the increase of state pensions is planned in 2019-2020 by GEL 20 per year, for this purpose, we have considered an additional 400 million GEL in the medium-term budget, "Bakhtadze said.

He added the new team has a specific vision on how to cope with poverty and economic problems in the country.

“Our first idea is to fully annul the tax arrears of the period before January 1, 2013”, the PM designate added.

Moreover, Bakhtadze’s program - ‘Freedom, Fast development, Prosperity’ envisages structural reorganization of the government as a result of which 100-120 million GEL will be saved. In his words, the maintenance of the state management office should not exceed 3.9 percent of GDP.

“We believe that Georgia will become a democratic, economically powerful and modern country,” Bakhtadze said, adding Georgia will become an attractive country for the locals from Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions, which are occupied by Russia.

“All the reforms we will implement, including economic, structural, educational or social ones, serve the only purpose - to achieve dignified living conditions of each citizen consistently and rapidly,” he added.

According to Bakhtadze, in order to ensure effective government, it is necessary to form comprehensive mechanisms for public and institutional control, especially introduction of a new, anti-corruption mechanism.

“We should introduce new approaches in the anti-corruption direction, since the existing approaches are backward and cannot respond to the current challenges. In this regard, I think the experiences of Baltic States and England are helpful,” he added.

In addition to economic initiatives, the PM candidate introduced his plans on foreign policy to the lawmakers.

Bakhtadze noted that the government will fulfill its obligations under the Association Agreement at a rapid pace in order to achieve the main goal – the EU membership.

“We will fulfill the obligations under the Association Agreement at a rapid pace and will return to the European family. Full integration into NATO is a crucial task of Georgia's foreign policy and is vital for the country's security and stable development,” he stated.

The PM designate noted that the main foreign policy priority is to strengthen Georgia's internationally recognized borders and sovereignty, de-occupation of the country and restoration of territorial integrity.

Parliamentary opposition parties criticized Bakhtadze’s initiative about the pension increase, saying there are enough funds in the budget to increase the pension by 50 Lari, instead of proposed 20 GEL.

European Georgia member, Zurab Chiaberashvili says the budget of the country increases every year which creates the possibility to increase the state pension by at least 50 GEL.

“Even in the past, there was a chance to increase the pension by 50 GEL. I think Bakhtadze’s government will continue the ineffective programs which benefit only GD bureaucracy and their businesses,” Chiaberashvili stressed.

The United National Movement (UNM) says the recent survey of UNICEF, which says the population of Georgia still remains in poverty, specifically underlines that it is on the expense of pensioners.

“The pension in Georgia is at present 180 GEL. It is less than the pensions in our neighboring states. Armenian pension is 230 GEL. This means that our pensioners will have 220 GEL pension only by 2020,” the UNM member Roman Gotsiridze said.