The United States has transferred USD 250 million to the Georgian government for budget support as part of the USD 1 billion aid package pledged by Washington after the August war.
The U.S. embassy said in a press release on November 21, that the USD 250 million grant will fund Georgia’s budget expenditures to cover state pensions, state compensation and state academic stipends – USD 163.3 million; health care costs for people living below the poverty line – USD 26.1 million; allowances to individuals displaced by the conflict in Abkhazia USD 6.1 million; financial support to schools through a voucher system on a per-student basis USD 24.2 million;
USD 30.3 million will be allocated for compensation and salaries for government employees of all ministries excluding the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Interior, according to the U.S. embassy. The grant will be fully expended by February, 2009.
“Both [Georgian and U.S.] governments are interested in ensuring complete transparency in the distribution of these funds and complete accountability. To that end the Government of Georgia will report monthly beginning December 31, 2008, on the disbursement of these funds,” the embassy said.
It said that these reports will be publicly available via internet and a firm commissioned by U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will perform a financial audit, scheduled to start on or about March 31, 2009.
The cash transfer flows directly from the recommendations of the UN/World Bank Needs Assessment, based on which international donors at the Brussels conference on October 22 pledged a total of USD 4.5 billion for Georgia.
The needs assessment report said that Georgia's budget support required USD 480 million in 2008 and USD 450 million in 2009.