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Saakashvili: Georgia’s economy will continue to develop2008-12-31 10:41
The international crisis and the state of the Georgian economy were the main issues discussed at the extended government meeting that took place on 28th December.
The session was chaired by Georgia's President Mikheil Saakashvili, who noted that on the backdrop of the international financial and economic crisis Georgia's economy was still continuing to develop, growth had been reported and new jobs were being created.
The president expressed his satisfaction with the work of the reshuffled cabinet of ministers and stressed once again that the new figures had instilled a new energy and new ideas into the government.
Saakashvili did not ignore neighbouring Russia, remarking that it was in the midst of a deep crisis. "In Russia wage arrears are officially at a level of 10-percent, but unofficially they have already exceeded 20-percent. Social commitments are not being fulfilled. In many neighbouring countries pensions are not being issued. The banking system has collapsed in these countries."
"In Georgia economic growth is slowing, but the international crisis has not yet hit us. We must do everything we can to ensure that it doesn't come on the same scale as it already has in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Hungary and other countries," Mikhail Saakashvili appealed to his ministers. According to him, the end of the international boom does have some positive aspects for Georgia: fuel has become cheaper, and this means that costs for agricultural work will decrease, therefore agricultural production will increase. And the treaties on free trade that the country is expecting to conclude with the USA and the European Union will allow Georgia to occupy its small but solid spot on the international market.
"The Georgian economy is one of the least corrupt in Europe, as in Georgia only 3 percent of businessmen fail to pay taxes, whereas in neighbouring Russia 70 percent avoid paying," said Saakashvili and stressed that a non-corrupt economy is an additional advantage for the Georgian government which will help it to overcome the crisis.
He noted the importance of the package devised by the government to stimulate the economy. "Today we heard a report from the government on the package designed to stimulate the economy which plans to invest more than 2 million lari into the economy. This is very important to prevent the worst from happening, and not to let the economic difficulties develop into a crisis, and to turn recession into economic growth," said Mikheil Saakashvili.