Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze said at a news briefing on November 8 that the government plans to increase spending for social programs.
He noted that the social assistance program in its current form has encouraged unemployment in the country, since its beneficiaries were reluctant to seek for jobs in fear of losing their allowances. “A citizen, who receives social allowance, will still receive it in the course of the coming year, irrespective of whether he/she finds a job,” he explained.
Bakhtadze also announced increase of salaries for the Georgian military, noting that salaries of 7 526 servicemen will increase during 2019-2020 in accordance to their military ranks. He also noted that 1 634 servicemen have been provided with housing since 2013 and the process will continue till 2020, covering additional the 728 servicemen. The Prime Minister also emphasized that salaries will also increase for the Interior Ministry’s Border Police and Coast Guard employees, starting from 2019.
PM Bakhtadze also said the government will continue to provide housing for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 2019. “IDPs currently residing [in collective centers] in Tbilisi, Rustavi, Marneuli, Khashuri, Batumi and Kutaisi will receive housing next year. We have already purchased apartments for 324 families in Tbilisi,” he said.
Earlier, on November 2, PM Bakhtadze already showcased upgrades in the government’s social spending, saying that adolescents below 16 years of age from socially vulnerable families will receive increased allowances if GEL 50 per child, starting 2019.
Prime Minister has denied the opposition’s challenge that the announcements regarding the government’s social programs were linked to the second round of Presidential elections, following the failure of the ruling-party supported candidate, Salome Zurabishvili to win the presidency in the first round, on October 28. PM Bakhtadze said the government has been working on social issues well before the elections, since summer.