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Former Minister of Economy visits the Parliament

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, May 16
On May 15, 2019 Giorgi Kobulia, the former Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, arrived at the Parliament of Georgia to meet with the MPs. Before the meeting, he made comments with journalists: “Of course, PM had the prerogative of dismissal of the Minister of Economy. He wrote a statement. I think there is nothing surprising that this decision was made through consultation with the ruling party leader. There were a number of reasons. I did not support some decisions,” said Giorgi Kobulia.

At the Parliament, Giorgi Kobulia initially introduced his visions to the legislators and then spoke about the directions in which the government disagrees and sees the problems. According to Giorgi Kobulia, decisions in the government are made on an emotional basis and are often irrelevant or belated.

According to him, the Georgian government does not have a unified vision of attracting investors, while he thinks that the foreign investors are vital for the Georgian economy.

As the ex-minister said, the Partnership Fund's strategy and working principles are not established and the results are quite low. Kobulia said that approach towards HPPs and wind projects also requires strengthening.

According to him, Georgia has only had one gas supplier for years and this sector is not well-regulated. Azerbaijan is Georgia's “absolutely natural partner” in gas consumption, stressed Kobulia. Former minister mentioned that since there’s no competition on the market, commercial sector has no choice but to buy from the sole supplier. He suggested creating competition or regulating the monopoly.

Former minister also emphasized the lack of qualified personnel in the public structures and said that the state agencies, in this regard, cannot compete with the private sector.

Kobulia also talked about the Marabda-Kartsakhi railway section, saying that "for some years the issue of completion of this section has not been resolved."

After listing the topics that he had had disagreements with, Kobulia said that his resignation was not because of one issue or the other, but a combination of all.

Former Economy Minister stated that he turned out to be too principled and everyone should have known from the beginning that he would not have carried out the decisions that he did not fully support.

Kobulia also noted that within the government, he had been called "foreign body" repeatedly by more than one person.

The ex-minister also stated that the robbery of his house was a sign that he had to resign. "I got the hint that I should leave my position even before my house was robbed," Giorgi Kobulia said.

Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze responded to the statements of his former teammate from Kazakhstan, where he’s currently on an official visit. “We need more economic growth, inclusive growth, such an increase that every citizen of Georgia can feel. In such time, it is necessary to focus on effective and quick decisions. This is one of the main tasks of the head of the government and I will definitely provide it," said the PM.

At the meeting with Kobulia, members of the opposition parties were in majority. Only three members of the ruling party attended the meeting: Zaza Khutsishvili, Shota Shalelashvili and Bidzina Gegidze.

Leader of the opposition party, European Georgia, made a comment about Kobulia’s speech at the Parliament: “Unfortunately, Giorgi Kobulia's statements confirm that the country was brought into a deadlock. This is the situation of informal governance, which is related to Bidzina Ivanishvili. It is clear that he did not want mention his surname. It’s the fact that decline towards corruption and dysfunction continues,” said Giga Bokeria.

Former Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Giorgi Kobulia, left the post in accordance to the PM’s command after being in the office for less than a year on April 18, 2019. Natia Turnava was appointed as the new Minister.

"If any minister is behind the pace that is necessary to demonstrate the promised result, naturally the change will not be delayed," said the PM about his decision.