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How New Government of the City Plans Spend its Budget?

Last week the 2018 municipal budget bill was sent to the Tbilisi Council with significant amendments. As reported, the new Mayor recalled the 2018 municipal budget bill submitted by previous Mayor David Narmania from the Council.

Contrary to the initial variant of the bill, the new variant has increased by 60 million GEL and exceeded 875 million GEL. The 2018 budget contains significantly revised expenditures. Namely, infrastructural expenditures grow considerably to 282 million GEL. This signifies that in 2018 the expenditures on infrastructural projects will increase by 55 million GEL, as compared to initial plan.

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze has talked about the budget details and pointed out that the mentioned meeting was of crucial importance for the capital city development.

“The 2018 municipal budget will rise by about 60 million GEL. This is very important for implementing the planned projects and, in general, for the capital city development. These funds will be directed to specific projects, including underground rehabilitation works, repair of both subway stations and wagons. We will implement specific projects announced in the per-election period.

I am very happy that the year of 2018 will be especially different for the capital city, of special importance, because we start implementation of the projects unveiled in the pre-election campaign”, Kakha Kaladze said.

Rehabilitation of Gudiashvili and Orbeliani Squares is one of the biggest infrastructural projects. 46 million GEL will be spent on the mentioned projects in 2018. Financial resources for greening zones will also rise. Namely, financial resources for green infrastructure will rise to 9 million GEL from 2.9 million GEL.

Healthcare and social protection is one of the key directions in the 2018 municipal budget. A total of 32 programs will be implemented in this field in 2018, including two new programs, screening of thyroid gland cancer and liver transplantation. The municipal budget will allocate 1.5 million GEL for disease screening program. Moreover, additional 1.5 million GEL is allocated for liver transplantation program.

Gela Chiviashvili, head of municipal office for health and social services, explains that the municipal budget will finance disease screening program with 1.5 million GEL and liver transplantation program with 1.5 million GEL. According to Gela Chiviashvili, thyroid gland cancer, mammal gland cancer ranks second in the female death toll.

“Detection of disease on early stage is of crucial importance, as well as involvement of people in the corresponding treatment. At this stage, we are specifying details of target groups, forms and criteria for financing the research under the new program”, Chiviashvili noted.

It is famous that the Tbilisi Council opposition parties will not back the 2018 municipal budget bill. The parties explain that the document does not call for cutting bureaucratic expenditures.

Levan Khabeishvili, one of the leaders of United National Movement, noted that finances for sustenance of socially vulnerable citizens, pensions and  medication vouchers for pensioners do not grow either.

“Issues proposed by us are adapted to Tbilisi residents. For example, 1.18 GEL does not suffice for socially vulnerable citizens and it should be tippled. Kaladze says that 1.18 GEL is sufficient. Second one, pensioners cannot buy medications. Therefore, we have said that they should receive specific vouchers. We have also indicated articles where to find due finances. We have also proposed to restore vouchers for public utilities in winter period. Kakha Kaladze denies all these projects”, Levan Khabeishvili said.

European Georgian members have also expressed remarks regarding the municipal budget. According to them, despite the opposition demands, the budget bill does not contain article for introduction of vouchers for public utilities in winter period.

“We have offered to cut bureaucratic expenditures, that is bonuses should not be issued to high-ranking officials. Various luxury things and the mentioned sum should be spent on growth in pension amount. Regretfully, the municipal budget does not meet key problems of Tbilisi residents”, David Jgenti, member of European Georgia, noted.