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Wednesday, 20 June 2018


Employment in Georgia as luxury

2009-07-20 14:17

3410.jpegGeorgian government keeps assuring its fellow citizens that in autumn Georgia will courageously overcome the crisis as mentioned in Prime Minister Nika Gilauri's speech at the business forum in Israel. The statistical figures however seem to be offended with the country leaders revealing big troubles both in economy and employment.

In 2008 the number of Georgian citizens who lost their jobs has reached 315,800 amounting to 16.5% of the county's employable population as acknowledged in the republic's department of statistics. According to the head of the department this is the highest unemployment rate over recent years. In 2007 it was 13.3% (261,000 unemployed).


Certainly the authorities can accuse the department of serving Moscow. Usually this is the way oppositionists are blamed for their hard-hitting statements. But reality is tough to argue with. PR campaigns and empty promises are not enough for people to live by. That's why it's little wonder that according to opinion polls carried out among people of Georgia in 2009 unemployment is number one fear for the Georgians followed by rise in food prices, national currency devaluation, political instability at home, rise in electricity and gas tariffs, salary cuts, non-availability of medical care, non-availability of loans.

The authorities seem to be dealing with all these problems judging by their assurances: it was Saakashvili's we'll-fight-poverty slogan that brought him victory in January 2008 election. The attempt to solve unemployment issue was bureaucratic: entrepreneurs were instructed to "employ" their co-citizens as soon as possible.

This plain method was already tried in the run-up to November 2006 local elections. A year later in December 2007 crowds of the unemployed rushed to the registration points to sign in as employment program participants. It took a few days for over 115,000 unemployed to get enrolled in Tbilisi. And early in the year Mikheil Saakashvili had given an audible promise to create 40 thousand employments in Georgia.

Now again it looks like a paradox - recently the president went to Ajaria to supervise construction of a new hotel in Batumi. The construction is underway but there are no new jobs - just as before. And this year loud statements on creation of a free industrial zone (FIZ) were made in Kutaisi: 2 bn investments and 2 thousand emplopyemtns were guaranteed.

Alas, for now all the assurances remain on the level of declarations. It seems the bright future is postponed. Though as News Georgia reports on his visit to Batumi Saakashvili stated: "The time when Georgia was full of jobless and unqualified workers is over, soon Georgia will have labor force deficit". In the meantime, as Kommersant radio reports, only in construction business 37% employees were made redundant.

Anxiety in Georgia is also caused by "entry-resistant barriers" that the near-abroad and far-abroad countries put under crisis conditions. Measures against illegal migrants are getting more stringent throughout the world. And it's not a secret that the lion's share of Georgian citizens makes both ends meet due to money transfers from abroad.

As early as in spring there was information that because of the crisis money flows to Georgia started to fall as stated by the National Bank of Georgia. In April the transfer total dropped by 27.4% comparing to the similar index in 2008. (Russia is ranking first in the volume of money transfers to Georgia).

If illegal workers from Georgia are forbidden to work abroad, a social explosion in Georgia is simply inevitable.

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