Lawmakers from the Georgian Dream parliamentary majority group met government’s economic team beyond the closed doors on August 7 to discuss economic situation in the country in the view of economic slowdown.
Economy Minister and Deputy PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili; Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri and Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure Davit Narmania briefed GD lawmakers.
GD senior lawmakers and cabinet ministers said after the meeting that despite of slowdown, economic situation was not alarming.
“Outlook is quite positive,” Economy Minister Kvirikashvili told journalists. “We should spare no efforts to move this political tension into a healthy debate and to remove this tense background; this is very important. It is also important to refrain from making statements and remarks [proposing] increase of regulations and introduction of restrictions in various spheres.”
Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri said he briefed lawmakers about budgetary targets. “There are no problems in the Georgian budget. The budget will fund all the infrastructure projects and social expenses; you know that the pensions will increase further from September 1,” Khaduri said.
Parliament speaker, Davit Usupashvili, said after the meeting: “Situation in overall is satisfactory taking into consideration those difficulties, which the country faced at the beginning of this year. The economic team of the government is working at its full capacity. We have received an absolute guarantee that all the budgetary targets will be met.”
Usupashvili said that one of the issues discussed at the meeting was to make available soft loans for start-up businesses. “The government is working on this issue and relevant mechanism will probably be elaborated by next year,” he said.
After the state statistics office released its preliminary data late last month showing real GDP growth at 1.8% year-on-year in the first half of 2013 and 0.8% contraction in June, government came under fire from the UNM parliamentary minority group, accusing GD of pursuing policies contributing to sense of instability.
Last week UNM parliamentary minority leader and presidential candidate, Davit Bakradze, offered PM Ivanishvili and government’s economic team a meeting to discuss “how to bring Georgia out of the economic crisis.”
Commenting on MP Bakradze’s proposal for a meeting, Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said on August 7: “I am ready to meet not only parliamentary, but non-parliamentary opposition as well. But there should be a business-like atmosphere, not a didactical tone… Yes I accept this proposal for a meeting.”
Asked about MP Bakradze’s proposal for a meeting, Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri told journalists on August 7: “What should Davit Bakradze teach me? How to terrorize business? How to seize private property?.. No, we don’t need it; we are not going to replicate such things from the National Movement.”
MP Bakradze welcomed Economy Minister Kvirikashvili’s remarks and reiterated readiness to engage in “issue-based and business-like dialogue.” “We should put aside our political disagreements and work together for the people,” he said.
Meanwhile, PM Ivanishvili met in his private seaside residence in Ureki U.S. Ambassador to Georgia Richard Norland and discussed “the government’s plans to attract foreign investment and promote economic growth in Georgia,” according to the U.S. embassy in Tbilisi.