PM Speaks of Projects of ‘National Importance’
On February 6, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili discussed a number of issues, including double-digit economic growth, declining inflation rates, projects of “national importance” and the need to regulate importers’ surcharges on products.
Projects of “national importance”
Prime Minister Garibashvili said that the government plans to implement “a number of large-scale projects” this year, focusing on the Tbilisi International Airport project, which he said will involve an investment of USD 500 million. “The next stage will be the expansion and complete modernization of Batumi airport.”
The Prime Minister emphasized that the government is working “actively” to start the construction of the Anaklia port this year. He also spoke about large HPPs, noting that the government is working on the modification of the Khudoni HPP to ensure that the project implementation does not lead to the flooding of rural cemeteries and churches.
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“The capacity may be reduced, but our experts say that the generation will be almost the same. And if this happens, we can only welcome it,” PM Garibashvili said, reiterating that such large projects will be implemented with the state’s co-participation.
He also noted that large urban renovation projects will be launched in 10 cities and 10 regions, providing for the complete rehabilitation of large cities. “We have chosen the most popular tourist destinations, such as Borjomi, Bakuriani, Tskaltubo, Mestia, Kazbegi, Kutaisi, Batumi and so on. We will present a detailed program soon,” he said.
Regulation of importers’ surcharges
PM Garibashvili also noted that he had instructed the National Competition Agency to investigate the pricing of goods. “I wondered to what extent the importers were decent and whether such profit margins charged by importers were reasonable,” he said, adding that the results “are truly alarming.” According to him rice, buckwheat, pasta, sugar, salt, and vegetable oil have a 50, 60, 70 or 80% surcharge to which is added at least 25%-30% retail surcharge, and finally “the population has to buy these products with a 100% surcharge, which is categorically unacceptable.”
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The Prime Minister also focused on oil products, saying that oil importers were charging a high profit margin, which was unacceptable.
PM Garibashvili instructed the relevant ministers to meet with importers and find solutions for the high prices. “I hope that they [importers] will consider our demands and position and act accordingly. This issue needs to be resolved in the shortest possible time. This is my principled position,” he said, adding that “one should not become so rich at the expense of the people, it is not right.”
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