Ministers deceive Sakartvelo’s parliament24.03.2011 | 17:00
PM Nika Gilauri made an ardent speech in front of parliament advertising the strategic development plan supposed to be implemented soon. The government has eradicated corruption, monopolism and protectionism, ceaselessly protecting the country from inflation. The only thing to be done is to become a reserve energy supplier in Europe - that's it! Yet, indexes presented by the PM differ from reports of finance and economy ministers. GeorgiaTimes correspondent asked Ajdar Kurtov, an expert at Russian center of strategic research, about disorder in Georgian government.
Nika Gilauri's attempts to find friends are innumerable. He begged China for investments, tried to fraternize with India and Spain. He even wanted to invite Japan to save Georgian economy before the disastrous tsunami. Yet, all efforts of Mr. Prime Minister were useless. Despaired to find external support, he decided to switch over to the republic he is in charge with and make corrections. The result of this activity is the strategic action plan recently presented in parliament.
Gilauri confessed that the current government's biggest mistake is unjustified hopes of the country's unemployed. Over four hundred thousand citizens are below the poverty line. Naturally, this is dreadful. But he asks people not to complain: number one task now is to save economy from technical default, preserve existing employments and investors. As PM asserts, very soon life in Skartvelo will be as good as in Europe.
Head of government gave reassuring figures that prove Georgia's success in maintaining the level of inflation that has grown by 21.9% over the past three years (indeed - not much) when other countries of the post-Soviet space can't boast of that: 49% in Ukraine, 22% in Moldova, 31% in Azerbaijan, 23% in Armenia. Even Turkey, Georgia's main trading partner, suffers a 24% inflation increase.
In fact, statistics is not an exact science in Georgian government. On the contrary, the data can differ depending on the rapporteur's mood. Finance minister Kakha Baindurashvili did not coordinate his figures with the head of Cabinet and presented absolutely different information: according to him, inflation in Georgia has grown by 19% (29% in Turkey). Deputies were bewildered to hear evident differences.
Jondi Bagaturia, an opposition parliamentary and leader of Kartuli Dasi political party was full of resentment over Gilauri's poor appearance at the plenary session. The head of government did not know how many people have pitiful existence. As it turns out, Georgian PM simply "forgot" to calculate 500,000 pensioners that have their pensions constantly increased though this figure has not reached a USD 100 amount yet. Neither did he take into consideration those who want to be included in the ranks of the poor - other 600,000 persons. One does not need a calculator to see that it's a twofold understatement.
"Different perception of the country's economic life is a common phenomenon. And in the run-up to elections everything differs: both evaluations and statistical data. Certainly, it is connected with the version that the situation is deliberately falsified by Georgian authorities. Besides, statistical data can be manipulated. For instance, an economic growth index can be calculated on the basis of a drastic slump. Various methods can be applied to calculate GDP growth. I think the authorities whitewash the situation. The real state of things shows that Georgia is not the brightest example of market economy transformation in post-Soviet states. Even if evident falsification takes place, this will play into the hands of the opposition", - Azhdar Kurtov, an expert at Russian Center for Strategic Research commented on the speech of Georgian PM in an interview with GeorgiaTimes.
But the head of Georgian government is as slippery as an eel. He makes a reasonable remark: what's the point in returning to accomplished facts when the bright future is near at hand? Then he makes a presentation of great deeds that Georgia will have in near future. Very soon Sakartvelo will become a reserve energy supplier for Europe. "I had talks with Hunter Ottinger, EU Commissioner for Energy Issues, who directly stated that", - Nika Gilauri said to please his colleagues. However, there is one small detail. To supply European consumers, electricity should be produced first, and this is Georgia's weak point. Construction of a cascade of hydro electric plants is skidding, and everything that could be exported, is presently drawn from hateful Russia's resources.
No wonder, PM had another plan to save domestic economy by issuing 10-year Euro bonds at London Stock Exchange. Though Gilauri considers it as a great benefit for Georgia, he failed to deceive the parliament. Accumulation of new debts is a forced measure to pay off the bonds at worth USD 700 mln that Georgia issued in 2007. It is unknown what amount the Georgian government plans to obtain from foreign banks. Still, it's quite clear that donors will ask for a precise plan of loan repayment. Most certainly, they will not allow the country to accept new debentures.