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Minister of Economy on the impact of Coronavirus

By Khatia Bzhalava
Tuesday, March 31
Due to the pandemic outbreak, Georgian Lari has depreciated even more against the American Dollar. In her interview to the press, Natia Turnava, the minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, talked about the causes of the problem and the preventive measures that the government implements to reduce the impact.

“The exchange rate of Lari is one of the biggest challenges of today. It is extremely hard to see that the Rate of Lari, which we stabilized in the previous months with our coordinated working, depreciates again due to the epidemic outbreak. The Coronavirus impacts global economics, including our economy.”

The Minister noted that the Lari remained stable before the outbreak, however, the panic mode around the country, not only affects the rate of the Lari, but also the consumption of goods.

“As a consequence of the world’s deliberate decision, tourism has been put on hold ]with the aim to avoid a wider spread of the virus. Tourism was one of the most important sources of the inflow of foreign currency to Georgia. Exports continue, but obviously, the scale is diminished so that, neither does this source have any sufficient economical effect. The Georgian government can not possibly halt the global crisis, but tries to mitigate the influence that the devaluation of Gel has on the citizens,” Turnava stated.

According to Turnava, the ministry will make sure the prices of 9 most necessary grocery products don’t increase so that the depreciation of Lari does not affect the market-basket. She added that the ministry and the banking sector agreed on postponing the loans of the citizens.

As for future estimation, Turnava said that the prognosis on the possible economic losses will not be as promising as it was before.

“The government will try its best for the outcome of the virus on economics to be positive. Depending on the results of January and the year 2019, we hoped that we would have an unprecedented economic boom. We had all kinds of prerequisites to establish hopes, however, no one could have predicted a pandemic outbreak. Clearly, the prognosis will not be as hopeful as it was, but we will put immense effort to neutralise the danger,” Turnava told the press.