Georgia Launches two billion GEL Fund to Support the Economy
The prime minister of Georgia would like to thank each and every citizen, particularly the residents of Tbilisi, for the understanding with which they approached yesterday's events throughout all of Georgia, especially after 21:00. Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia made this statement at the session of the Interagency Coordination Council on the coronavirus.
According to the head of government, this shows how the citizens perceive a sense of shared responsibility.
"This is of extreme importance to us as it shows the way in which we jointly perceived the responsibility, which is our shared responsibility - not just of the government but of each and every citizen of this country. Above all, this is a responsibility toward one another, toward our parents, the older generation. Only thus will we be able to overcome this challenge quickly," Giorgi Gakharia stated.
The head of government discussed the decisions taken to support the economy.
According to the government's decision, 2 billion GEL has been allocated for the direct assistance of the economy as of today.
According to the prime minister's assessment, this is the assistance that will be aimed at the retention of jobs, as well as the retention of companies, ongoing production, and current businesses.
"First of all, we understand that every one of our citizens has suffered direct economic damage in connection with the measures that the government is forced to implement in order to protect the health of our citizens. This damage is often direct and tangible. In many cases, people have lost their income and their jobs. Precisely for this reason, at this stage, and considering the fact that this crisis differs from all other crises because it is impossible to make accurate predictions concerning duration, as well as in terms of correctly estimating damage to the economy, we are forced - and in contrast to all other actors, it is our responsibility - to utilize even the modest capabilities of our economy today in a manner that is as effective and rational as possible," the head of government stated.
According to Giorgi Gakharia, this decision is of utmost importance in order to enable the Georgian economy to develop rapidly and to restore the starting positions it had at the beginning of the year as soon as the concluding phase of the crisis has been reached.
"In this regard, it is our unequivocal decision that we will do our utmost to maintain large-scale, systemic infrastructural projects under conditions of heath safety protection, as well as to support and enable systemic production to continue operating, and to do our best to support systemic fields of the economy to the greatest extent possible. In this regard, as of today, we have mobilized 2 billion GEL in the budget. This is only the beginning and the first stage, given the data that we possess today," the prime minister stated.
The head of government noted that at some stage, after some time has passed, it is possible that the country might face such challenges that this assistance might need to be increased.
The prime minister emphasized that the 2 billion GEL does not include the 351 million GEL that was directly allocated from the budget for the purposes of healthcare in the fight against COVID-19.
"This is the sum that was reserved in the crisis budget in order for us to fight for the health of our fellow citizens and to do everything in our power to hinder the rapid growth of the scale, as well as of the geographic distribution of the infection. These funds must be utilized in an extremely rational manner," the prime minister noted.
According to Giorgi Gakharia's assessment, how the government is managing to provide every citizen with direct assistance at this stage is of the utmost importance.
To this end, the government has decided to fully fund the utility payments of all of our citizens who consume less than 200 kilowatts of electricity per month and less than 200 m3 of natural gas per month for the duration of three months - March, April, and May.
"This includes both cleaning service and water utility payments. This assistance, which we decided within the framework of government, will directly reach our citizens. We understand that this will not be enough. Of course, we understand that we must identify every one of our citizens who have lost their job and we will then make special arrangements to provide them with direct assistance. Furthermore, I would like to emphasize once again that it is of extreme importance, in our case, to utilize each and every lari that was mobilized in the budget today in a rational manner - 2 billion GEL in terms of the economy and the direct assistance of our citizens, and 351 million GEL in terms of healthcare, for the direct fight against COVID-19," Giorgi Gakharia noted.
According to the prime minister, the crisis budget, within the framework of which the government is operating today, is of the utmost importance and the main thing is that the funds have been directed in order to maintain the most effective balance in terms of the fight against the infection, as well as in terms of economic potential.
"Ultimately, all of us understand that our goal is to overcome the virus in such a manner that our economy can retain the potential for rapid growth, and for us to overcome the virus in such a way that the damage to our economy is minimal, and so that job losses are minimal. I would like to call on every individual government agency to use the resources that are mobilized in the crisis budget for your agencies today in the most rational way possible. Of course, we will further discuss the radical reduction of ongoing expenses, which is also envisaged by the crisis budget and this concerns hundreds of millions. However, we must all understand that the main challenge is the following: It is difficult to make concrete and high-quality predictions. For this reason, we have to operate while practically facing new challenges on a daily basis and our main goal should be to act in a rational and effective manner in terms of management and budget spending, while also acting effectively in terms of the fight against the virus," the prime minister stated.