Breakthrough epoch now on in Georgia: sewage system under construction02.04.2010 | 17:31
President Mikheil Saakashvili promised that by the end of his presidential term all problems with roads, energy and water supply as well as sewage problems would be solved. This time, as he says, will make history as a breakthrough period. Good intentions, but away from reality, as expert Georgy Khukhashvili thinks.
Sewage system is one of the signs of civilization. No sewage canals - no well-developed culture. After Greeks and Romans laid pipes they immediately set an example for civilizations to come.
Some districts of Georgia still have no uninterrupted water supply and normal sewage system while the country is running toward European integration. It's no good looking like barbarians against Eifel Tower.
Mikheil Saakashvili promised to put an end to backwardness and every-day inconveniences of people.
"My presidency will make history as a period of time when problems of roads, water supply and sewage system were solved. This will be a great historical breakthrough", - Saakashvili stated at a government session in Batumi.
The president emphasized that he hadn't been sitting on his hands: electric and gas supply tasks have been fulfilled, new roads are under construction now, and it's time to seriously deal with water supply and sewage system in big cities. Special state programs have been launched in rural areas.
The president promised to invest GEL 3 bln in road repairs. The same amount will be spent on construction of various hydro electric plants and another GEL 1 bn to rehabilitate water supply system.
"That means that solving major every-day problems in Georgia will cost GEL 7 bln. At least this is a precondition that the country is developing", - Saakashvili stated.
If these promises are fulfilled by 2013 Saakashvili will consider his mission done.
"What was not done at the Soviet time with all resources at hand, has to be completed now with more modest possibilities, but we will do it by all means", - the president remarked.
Loyal ministers joined in the victorious tonality of their leader's speech. Lasha Gotsiridze, deputy minister for regional development promised to complete sewage system issue before the end of 2012. In Mestia, he said, GEL 4 bln were invested into water and sewage waters. Total amount to be invested into the region's infrastructure is GEL 28 mln.
"This year we are setting up water supply and sewage systems in Zugdidi-Anakalia. Besides, we plan to continue rehabilitation works in Poti that received nearly GEL 30 bln to switch the town over to 24/7 water supply system. From 2011 other GEL 80 mln will be set aside to solve the issue completely", - Gotsiridze stated. It will be remarked, that this big trading town still gets water on a schedule basis.
Before that, by the end of this year, the water supply and sewage system in Batumi and Kobuleti will be fully renovated, as Georgian PM Nika Gilauri says. The first stage of works will cost GEL 300 mln. The second and third projects will be implemented in 2011 and 2012. "In total the project will cost nearly GEL 1 bln". - he stated.
Where will Georgia get the money from? The problem is solved, Gilauri assures. "We are holding negotiations with the Asian Development Bank and European Investment Bank on the issue. Before the end of the year we will be granted USD 500 mln from the Asian Bank and USD 100 mln from the European Investment Bank", - the PM explained.
How feasible are these promises by Saakashvili's team? Georgy Khukhashvili, expert for economic issues, is skeptical about these undertakings:
- These statements have been made in the run-up to local elections. I don't think these problems can be resolved in two years' time. It is demonstrative that our authorities simply can't promise anything but water supply, energy supply and sewage system repair. They can't promise what the Georgian society needs most: democratic freedoms, country's unification, integration into Europe. The authorities have become more honest but the situation doesn't look optimistic.
- The government refers to former investment deficit saying that now the sources are found.
- It's not investments but loans that will have to be paid off by the next generation of Georgians. This is really alarming. The country's credit obligations are quite high. Saakashvili promises prosperity but it's a dubious message. Where will we get funds to pay the debts? Loans can and must be taken but Georgia must have a competitive economy then. And when there is no economic growth, the country is accumulating debts to be badly hit afterwards.
- How unstable is the country's domestic situation and does Saakashvili realize it speaking about the breakthrough epoch and prosperity?