Georgia will require at least 10% economic growth annually for next decade to make “Singaporization in terms of economy” real, President Saakashvili said on March 19.
Georgia’s economy grows faster than those of other countries in the region, he said at a meeting with a group of students from the Tbilisi-based Technical University of Georgia.
“My goal is to have from 8 to 10% [economic] growth this year and then, in following ten-fifteen years [economy] should be growing with at least 10% in order to really achieve Singaporization in economic terms… and to live in wealth,” he said, adding: “I do not want Georgia to be a mid-level country.”
Georgia’s economy grew at 8.1% annual rate in the final three months of last year, making full year GDP growth in 2011 6.8%, according to the preliminary figures released by the Georgian state statistics office, Geostat, in January. Georgia’s 2012 state budget sets GDP growth forecast at 5%.
Saakashvili said that the country’s economy was now “moving forward well”.
“The state apparatus works well, laws are normal, tax system works normally and customs system works well,” Saakashvili said. “Of course there are shortcomings… The main shortcoming is that large part of the society lives in hardship, although poverty has more than halved.”
In the same speech before the students Saakashvili also said that following the Russian presidential elections for Russia’s President-elect Vladimir Putin Georgia’s parliamentary polls in autumn “are now the major elections.”
“Gazprom has billions [of money] and they’ve allocated billions as they think: ‘let’s give several billion to [Georgia’s] political spectrum and Georgian voters; it’s so easy to buy them’… But Putin will never understand why the Georgian people will not be sold, including this autumn [during elections]; there are two reasons: one is that [the Georgian people] already knows taste of independence and second – we have the state, rules and laws,” Saakashvili said, adding that the authorities would observe those laws no matter what it takes.