Parliament passed on July 30 with its third and final reading a bill suspending change of status of agriculture land plots to non-agriculture till December 31, 2014.
The move comes less than a month after ban on sale of agriculture land to foreign nationals and companies was imposed till December 31, 2014.
Change of status of agriculture land will only be possible in case of “urgent necessity” after proper evaluation and decision by the government, according to the adopted bill, which was sponsored by two Georgian Dream lawmakers Gigla Agulashvili and Zurab Tkemaladze.
These two MPs were also behind the proposal imposing ban on sale of agriculture land plots to foreigners.
One of the major goals on imposing moratorium on change of status of agriculture land, according to its sponsors, is to close loophole which allows bypassing temporary ban of sale of agriculture land to foreigners by changing status of such land plots to non-agricultural.
According to MP Agulashvili, who chairs parliamentary committee for agriculture, number of applications from citizens requesting change of status of agricultural land increased after the temporary ban on sale of agriculture land to foreigners was enforced on July 17.
“Request for change of status of total of 65 hectares of land has been submitted [to the authorities] over the past one week,” MP Agulashvili said on July 29.
Like imposing moratorium on sale of agriculture land to foreigners, UNM also condemned this recent, related bill as populist move, which would harm the economy and investment climate of the country.