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The prime minister decides that officials will tighten their belts2009-02-11 10:03
In order to save his country from poverty, Georgia's new Prime Minister Nika Gilauri has decided to reduce the appetites of officials. On his very first working day, he ordered the Finance Minister Kakha Baindurashvili to cut administrative expenses for officials.
"We're talking about funds allocated from the budget for fuel, cars and business trips," Gilauri is quoted as saying by Day.az. The prime minister thinks that this will help to free up 10 million lari, which will go towards stimulating financial credit.
The prime minister did not even begin to ascertain whether officials are agreeing to tighten their belts in these conditions of economic crisis. He ordered the Finance Minister Kakha Baindurashvili to present a plan for reducing administrative expenses. "On my very first working day," says Baindurashvili who has just been appointed to this post, "I have been given quite a difficult task. The work must be completed within the next few days, because the document needs to be presented to the government soon."
The parliament speaker David Bakradze, who supported the head of the government's idea, gave the following comment at the 9 February session: "I welcome the prime minister's initiative. In 2008 parliament voluntarily reduced its own expenditure three times over. This year as well, we will be able to make our contribution towards the social protection of the population and stimulating the economy."
As could be predicted, no official has yet shared his view on the imminent need to tighten their belts with the press. But another question is more interesting. Even if they manage to free up 10 million lari for the social sphere by doing this, will it save Georgia from poverty?
None of the previous reforms and individual measures aimed at increasing their citizens' well-being have brought the desired results. This is shown quite eloquently by the figures and facts used by international analysts in their reports.
In the latest annual report produced by the World Economic Forum in Davos, reports the radio station Kommersant, the reforms being carried out in Georgia are viewed negatively.
According to its assessments, in the category of "global competitiveness" Georgia was classed as one of the countries falling behind the others, and occupied 90th place in the rankings. Political instability, a high level of inflation, ineffective governance and limitations within the labour regulations were given as the most problematic factors.
Georgia was in 112th place concerning the "difficulty of doing business", and in terms of the effectiveness of its anti-monopoly policies - in 111th place.
The forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is no more reassuring. There will be no economic growth in Georgia until 2010. A statement to this effect was made by Masul Abas, head of the Central Asia department at the IMF, when speaking about the prospects for the Georgian economy.
Therefore the prospects for the government's priority "Georgia - without poverty" programme appear rather shaky. In any case, the country's citizens will have to wait a long time to see its results. Just as was the case with the outcome of the previous programmes.