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Georgian PM Faces Question Time in Parliament

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On May 29, the Georgian lawmakers questioned the Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia using new procedural tool at their disposal “an interpellation rule”. The factions of the United National Movement and European Georgia posed questions to the Prime Minister, ranging from poverty rate to the possibility of tax cuts.

The United National Movement’s questions were about the “growing poverty rates” in the country and the government’s plan to get out of the crisis. European Georgia wondered as to why the government does not reduce taxes and bureaucratic costs, and why it is does not allow the citizens to withdraw the savings transferred in the pension fund amid pandemic.

Asking a question on behalf of the UNM, MP Roman Gotsiridze said that the Georgian government is the only government in the world that did not directly help its own citizens during the public health crisis.

He noted that the promises made by the Georgian Dream-led government within the framework of the anti-crisis plan were in fact “corruption plans” that reflect “money-making scheme” in benefit for companies with close relations with the government.

In response, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia acknowledged that poverty remains a “structural problem” in the country’s economy, however, he said that the situation had improved in the recent years. Recalling various social programs (free school textbooks, “universal health care”, etc.) implemented by the GD-led government, the Prime Minister said the government keeps working to help the citizens.

“We are aware that [these programs are] not sufficient, but nevertheless, human interests and care [for people] were at the center of every [program] that has been done in recent years,” said Giorgi Gakharia.

Accusing MP Gotsiridze of lying, the Prime Minister noted that as of May 25, 427,206 Georgian citizens had already received social assistance promised by the government “on their bank accounts.”

The head of the Government then called the questions from European Georgia as “emotional political slogans” and “political populism”. Arguing that Georgia’s tax burden is already one of the lightest, he said if further cuts were implemented, “the country’s financial stability will collapse.”

The Prime Minister also stated that the pension fund will serve as a “guarantee of the normal life of our elderly citizens” and that the pension fund should not be spent during an “unexpected crisis”.

“Unfortunately, our opposition simply does not have the competence and I think that this country deserves a little more competent and better opposition,” – concluded the Prime Minister.

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