On March 13, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, together with the Ministers in charge of economy and finance, unveiled a plan in a bid to mitigate the risks of the novel coronavirus on the Georgian economy and provide fiscal stimulus for the recovery.
Prime Minister noted, that given the scale of the virus spread, “it was time to undertake effective measures, as the global [negative] impact on the economy by the disease would be humungous. “We have to be ready to soften the blow and aid our business, economy so that the detrimental impact may be forecasted and response measures are devised in advance.”
Gakharia clarified, that tourism sector will take the biggest hit and as tourism is the backbone of Georgian economy, “the main task is to assist that sector first.”
Gakharia noted that after meeting with the representatives of the banking sector, it was decided that the most affected companies will have their debts restructured for the next three or four months. Moreover, Gakharia added , physical entities will also be released from loan service obligation for the next three months, if the need arises.
Government will defer collection of property and income taxes for those companies that manage hospitality industry for the next four months. Gakharia underscored that these measures had been taken providing that the beneficiary companies extend support for their personnel.
“We are well aware that, on the whole, economy needs aid using other tools as well. Therefore, following the government’s decision, additional GEL 300 million will be invested in capital expenditure and infrastructural projects by the end of the year,” PM Gakharia said.
He added that this would result in channeling around GEL 1 billion (USD 360,000) into Georgia’s private sector. “If this will not prove enough and we see that the global challenges and negative impact aggravates, we shall undertake additional contingency measures,” he added.
Gakharia stated the government was in close cooperation with the National Bank of Georgia as well as with its international financial partners to tackle the challenge. Commending the banking sector for their support, Gakharia called on the Georgian citizens to observe all of the recommendations of healthcare officials to prevent the further spread of the novel coronavirus in the country.