Government meeting. Saturday, September 22, 2001

The Government Meeting, which has been postponed for several times, was held on September 22nd. There was only one issue on the agenda: Expenditures of the budget for year 2002.

Finance Minister Zurab Nogaideli presented expenditures part, which has been increased for 40 million Laris (20 million USD). Minister of Economy, Industry and Trade Ivane Chkhartishvili has been lobbying 100 million Laris (50 million USD) increase of the expenditures. President Shevardnadze demanded an increase of expenditures for at least 50 millions (25 million USD).

Expenditures for main ministries and governmental structures would be as follows:

· Ministry of Internal Affairs – 59,841,000 GeL ($ 29,816,000)
· Ministry of Defense – 55,500,000 GeL ($ 27,650,000)
· Ministry of Refugees and Settlement – 54,500,000 GeL ($ 27,000,000)
· Ministry of Foreign Affairs (including diplomatic missions abroad) – 24,469,000 GeL ($ 12,000,000)
· Ministry of Education – 23,789,000 GeL ($ 11,500,000)
· Ministry of Justice – 12,944,000 GeL ($ 6,200,000)
· State Television – 10,000,000 GeL ($ 4,800,000)
· Courts – 9,960,000 GeL ($ 4,700,000)

The Ministers and the Governors criticized the draft budget. Especially the representatives of the power structures were dissatisfied with the expenditures proposed by the Ministry of Finance. With such funding fighting against crime would be impossible, Internal Affairs Minister Kakha Targamadze stated.

Present version of draft budget considered to certain extent position of the defense Ministry. In a previous version of the budget, only 36 million Laris were allocated for the Defense Ministry, when Minister David Tevzadze has been demanding 71 millions. Even though Tevzadze’s request has not been fully satisfied, funding of the defense Ministry was increased, compared to the initial version of the budget.

Minister of Economy, Industry and Trade Ivane Chkhartishvili called the budget draft “corruptive”. He believes, that the current figures would impel governmental officials to take bribe. Chkhartishvili pledged that there are resources in the country. Effective collection of the taxes would have provided the budget with twice more incomes. However, Finance Minister states, that in current situation presented version of the budget is most optimal and there would be no necessity to sequester it in the next year.

President Shevardnadze, despite certain remarks, favored the draft budget. “Every minister in every country is always unhappy with the budget. These figures are the very best of what we can do now,” said President.


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