Mamuka Bakhtadze, prime-ministerial designate from the ruling Georgian Dream, chose to hold his first meeting in this new role with young representatives of the Georgian tech start-ups, at Technopark Tbilisi, a public-private project supporting development of the new economy.
During almost a two hour meeting, where Bakhtadze made a presentation and fielded questions from the audience, he exposed his vision of country’s development steeped into government supporting high-tech economy, entrepreneurship and competition.
He specifically highlighted his intention to support FinTech startups and boost country’s competitive advantage into financial services sector. He pledged to curb unfair competition to the private IT start-ups from the governmental agencies’ IT departments. At the same time, he promised financial incentives for the Georgian tech start-ups, and spoke of the need to attract talents also from the neighboring countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine were mentioned).
Responding to a question from his audience, Bakhtadze said the government will present proposals for attracting angel investors from abroad, as well as encouraging high-technology companies to open their representations in Georgia by easing or completely abolishing their corporate tax.
Aside from these, he also pledged concrete initiatives to support green economy and highlighted education as being the focal point for the new government’s investment.
Bakhtadze, perhaps being attuned to the needs of the audience, refrained from touching upon any other, wider issues of poverty, social support or security.
Georgia has a tradition of technocratic Prime Ministers primarily held responsible for country’s economic stability and growth. But Georgia’s new Constitution, which would fully enter into force this coming fall, foresees much wider executive role for the Prime Minister as the full-fledged head of government.
Georgia’s Finance Minister since November 2017, Bakhtadze, a political novice, was tapped to be country’s new head of government after PM Kvirikashvili stepped down amid public protests as well as apparent “differences of opinion” with the ruling party leadership.