Parliamentary approved with its third and final reading on June 29 proposal on structural changes in the government, which among other things, establishes a new, separate ministry in change of sports and youth affairs.
As part of the proposal, the Ministry for Refugees and Accommodation has been renamed through including term “occupied territories” in its name.
“As 20% of country’s territory is occupied by Russia and as the Georgian government tries to establish this term internationally, we deemed it reasonable to emphasize this priority in the name of the ministry and to rename it as the Ministry for Refugees, Displaced Persons from Occupied Territory and Accommodation. It means that the ministry’s priority will be protection of rights of persons displaced from the occupied territories,” Gia Khuroshvili, the government’s parliamentary secretary, said on June 28.
The structural change includes separation of the United Transport Administration from the Ministry for Regional Development and Infrastructure and its merger with the Ministry of Economy. The latter has also been renamed into Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.
The department for youth and sports was separated from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Monument Protection and was established as a separate ministry.
The parliamentary minority has criticized the changes, in particular creation of the new ministry saying that the government has failed to bring a convincing argument in favor of establishment of the separate ministry in change of sports and youth affairs. The parliamentary minority also said that the move was unacceptable as it would cause additional expenses.
The government, however, denied that the decision would trigger additional expenses saying that the amendments to the 2010 state budget accompanying the structural changes were of “technical nature” not relating with allocation of additional funds to the new ministry.
“The new ministry is needed because of priority of this field. About 100 sport federations are in Georgia and 40 of them are financed from the state budget. Development of sport infrastructure is the government’s priority,” Gia Khuroshvili, the government’s parliamentary secretary, told lawmakers.