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Anti-crisis or pre-election plan?


Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

“It is rather an election plan than economic anti-crisis plan. Otherwise, why did they elaborate it only for 6 months and not till the end of the year? Will people be unemployed only for six months?” head of the political counsil Lelo - Davit Usupashvili assessed the anti-crisis economic plan of the government, in the frame of which the government plans to spend 3.5 billion GEL.

“Lelo offered the government to create anti-crisis council two months ago. We all could voice our ideas in the council – we could exchange ideas, reach agreement and elaborate the plan to overcome the crisis in Georgia. It could be better in similar situation. The unveiled plan does not offer the same opportunity; who lost jobs, the government plans to pay 200 GEL per month while minimum viable product in the country is more than 200 GEL. What do we tell these people then – they are left without jobs during six months and they will get only 200 GEL per month? Our plan was focused on three-month social aid and each person would be able to get 400 GEL per month instead 200 GEL. It could be effective plan to reinforce economics and restore working places and create new working places so that people could keep their families with their own work after two and three months. The government with this plan told the people that they will depend only on 200 GEL until the parliamentary election is held,” Davit Usupashvili said. 

The anti-crisis plan includes financial assistance to the individuals, who lost jobs because of the current situation as well as the activities to empower business companies and six-stage plan how to revoke restrictions step-by-step. 

The employed people, who lost jobs or had to take unpaid vacations because of the COVID-19-related state of emergency, will receive monthly 200 GEL during 6 months. The beneficiaries of this support are 350 000 citizens and the government will spend 460 million GEL on it. The government plans to assist self-employed people with 300 GEL only and will spend 57 million GEL on it. 

Economist Tamar Edisherashvili analyzed the anti-crisis economic plan for humanrights.ge and divided the plan in several components; she mainly focused on those issues which the government missed in the plan.

“The plan does not envisage compensations for the past two difficult months and the program will start from May, 2020. How will the unemployed people survive, who did not have jobs before the state of emergency either. Who will issue certificates on the self-employed people, while if the head of the organization confirms it in written form, he will be inserted on the black list because he hid the employees and did not pay the income tax. Naturally, business companies will not be able to restore their functioning with full speed by the end of the year because their employees will not be able to get full salaries. Consequently, they will no longer be in the aid program. Having that, the anti-crisis plan force the people to run shadow economics not to lose the minimal 200 GEL allowance. It is unclear how the people, who did not lose jobs but have their salaries cut off, and have loans in the banks, will pay the debts and allocated interests after three months,” Tamar Edisherashvili wonders. 

Representatives of the Georgian Dream think the government will eventually amend the anti-crisis plan.

“Economic anti-crisis plan was created in coherence with the state budget. The government worked seriously and allocated funds on major directions; the necessary amendments will be made according to the situation in future because nobody knows how long the COVID-19-related situation will continue,” chairman of the Gori municipal assembly Davit Razmadze said.

In parallel to the central budget, the Gori municipal budget was also amended. The city hall allocated about half million GEL on several directions of the anti-crisis plan. Part of the funds will be spent on social aid of the people, who were left without jobs because of the state of emergency in the country; another part will be spent on the COVID-19 prevention activities.  

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