An interview with the President’s Economic Advisor Giorgi Abashishvili
President of Georgia made an optimistic statement about $2 billion that will be attracted for the construction of the TANAP on the country’s territory. Can you specify the details?
Construction of the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) is an important project, the opening of which was attended by the presidents of Turkey, Azerbaijan, and Georgia. This route will transport Caspian gas to Europe, which will increase the level of the EU’s energy independence. For Georgia, such projects are very important and our participation in them says a lot.
In total $45 billion will be invested in the project, of which $2 billion will be invested in infrastructure construction in Georgia – it is also very important, as new jobs will be created, additional cargos will be transported through our ports and railway, and of course, the country will get a lot of experience in the implementation of major infrastructure projects. Implementation of such a mega-project will also stimulate the development of small and medium-sized businesses.
During the opening ceremony the Georgian President said about the special role of the country in this project – Caspian energy carriers would not be able to get to Europe without transit through Georgia. We play the role of bridging the two continents, and this function was once again reminded by the Giorgi Margvelashvili.
If we talk in general terms about the regional economy, Georgia may play a role of bridging transit goods to Europe from China and Japan. In this regard, cooperation between the three countries is essential, and we are the natural allies of Turkey and Azerbaijan. As for TANAP, Georgia will begin to get gas through the pipeline in 2018 and only then, in 2019 – Europe, that is our advantage is quite obvious. We are not talking about some very distant future. This is an ongoing project, the results of which will manifest soon enough.
Another important issue concerns the business dynamics. Office of the President often meets with representatives of business, and economic experts. How relevant is the topic of insufficient communication between the government and the private sector?
We see that today business is free from political pressure, communication with businessmen has improved, but its effectiveness is still low.
It is good that the government then reacts to the comments from the business side, but it would be better if businessmen’s views were considered not after but prior to the decision-making process.
It is important to clearly define who makes decisions in all issues, especially in matters relating to business.
When businessmen complain of bureaucratic barriers, they of course, have some reason for it – in particular, the lack of coordination needed to ensure that decisions on specific matters to be taken in one place.
This problem requires a good understanding and finding a right way out that will help us to avoid unnecessary complications. This applies to all government initiatives related to business.
An illustrative example is the migration law project which limited the employment of foreign nationals in Georgia and created more threats to the investment climate. Thanks to the business activity, the limitations clause was removed from the project. This is not an isolated issue when business had its own vision.