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Saakashvili to drown descendants in debts05.12.2011 | 13:02
Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili continues borrowing money from international creditors. This time, it's the Asian Bank for Development and the German Credit Bank for Reconstruction lending nearly USD 50 mln for improvement of living conditions of refugees in regions and better "urban service". GeorgiaTimes correspondent and Kakha Dzagania, ideological secretary of the Labor Party discuss whether evictees from Abkhazia and South Ossetia as well as other residents of Georgian towns will see this money.
Georgia's external debt is growing day by day. Presently the republic owes nearly USD 4.5 billion to international creditors. By the way, this figure is equal to the country's budget. Yet, it seems the fact does not embarrass the country leaders. As reported today, Tbilisi will get a EUR 4 mln loan from the German Credit Bank for Reconstruction (KFW) for emergent rehabilitation of residential houses for forced evictees in Western Georgia. According to official information, sewage and water supply systems will be repaired, and living and household conditions for refugees in Poti, Zugdidi, Kutaisi and Batumi will be improved with this money. In addition to that, the Asian Bank for Development lends another USD 40 mln to Georgia. The sides have already signed an agreement to finance "The Urban Service Improvement Investment Program". It is not quite clear what this notion stands for.
The local opposition has repeatedly stated that Saakashvili and his team are simply misappropriating the money the West lends for social projects. In order to avoid reproaches of the West, a number of "model" sections of homes are built. "These programs can be compared with propaganda", - Free Georgia party leader Kakha Kukava remarks. - This is demonstrational construction of special villages and houses as well as monetary compensations to show to foreign donors that those who suffered at the time of the Russian-Georgian war are being taken good care of". According to him, formally for 20 thousand refugees USD 6 bn were allocated as aid from the EU and the USA. For Georgia this is an immense sum, particularly if compared with the country's budget. "99% of this money was embezzled by corrupt officials in Saakashvili's administration", - the oppositionist says. Apparently, the story will be repeated this time. Forced evictees will continue to live in poverty like they are living now.
The situation in the capital of Georgia is no better. For instance, not long ago Tbilisi mayor Gigi Ugulava gave citizens vouchers for public transport. Thus, residents of the city now have a chance to use metro or buses for free several days per month. "Residents of Tbilisi have many problems, and the mayoral office decided to help them pay for public transport", - Ugulava stated. - This present is not expensive, yet it will help reduce transport costs". Firstly, the modest present will cost GEL 5 mln to the administration. Secondly, can it be a worthy compensation for a drastic rise in the cost of tickets that took place in summer, when prices jumped from 50 to 80 tetri? Will the GEL 40 mln loan affect lives of Tbilisians? This is highly doubtful too.
As Kakha Dzagania, ideological secretary of the Labor Party said in an interview with GeorgiaTimes, before borrowing loans, the authorities must ask the population about that. "They must ask those people who will have to repay these loans including interest, - he believes. - This practice is widely used in many Western countries. And such organizations like the World Bank make money on poor states ruled by dictators. Though I do believe they should not work in Georgia. Unfortunately, Saakashvili does not see that".
As for solving residential and social problems of refugees, these all are fairy-tales, Dzagania thinks. "Indeed, houses have been built on grants and loans. Yet, it's impossible to live in them. I remember the pompous opening ceremony of such a quarter in presence of international diplomats including the US ambassador who presented this project. So I think, new loans will only improve financial situation of Saakashvili and his gang. Not more", - he highlighted.
Answering the question if the republic will be able to repay debts in the near future, our interlocutor remarked that the current model adopted by the authorities suggests debt settlement with new loans. It looks like swampland. "New loans are taken for 7-8 years' periods. It is a sort of financial pyramid", - the oppositionist is sure. - And this story goes on. After Saakashvili leaves, our children will have to settle debts".