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Construction halted on several projects

By Keti Arjevanidze
Thursday, January 10
“I hope that stopping and deconstruction of buildings should not be a part of the government’s policy,” Mikheil Saakashvili said on January 7th, responding to the government’s decision, according to which, several construction projects have been halted throughout the country.

Saakashvili thinks that these buildings and projects would create additional jobs for Georgian citizens. The president also added that with this act tourism in the country to suffer greatly.

Expressing his indignation, Saakashvili also spoke about the halted construction of Khobi Hydropower station, which according to him should have started operating from January 1st. Saakashvili said that the building of this station could create additional 10,000 jobs.

Kakhi Kaladze, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Georgia responded to the president’s statement, saying that Saakashvili’ s accusations are false. “Saakashvili continues his demagogy, which is what he and his party were doing for the last nine years,” said Kaladze.

Minister Kaladze said the building of hydropower stations are in progress and there are no obstacles in this direction.

The International Investment Coordination Center also responded to the president’s statement. The representatives of the center confirm that the building of the five-star hotel Kempinski has stopped, but the decision to stop funding was taken early in 2010 by the investor.

Giorgi Seturidze, the Director of the Center said that the reason of halting the construction and funding came about because of the previous government’s rough interference in the management process and corrupt business deals.

The Georgian government has suspended a memorandum with a Turkish operator of the Tbilisi International Airport on reconstruction of a runway which also became the subject of Saakashvili’s criticism. In August, 2012, Georgia’s previous government signed a memorandum with TAV Airports Holding under which the airport operator company was planning to invest USD 65 million in the reconstruction of the runway. “These kinds of activities will become the reason of losing the tourists and income for our citizens.” stated the president.

Thea Zakaradze, manager at TAV Urban Georgia Administration, confirmed that the building of the new runway has been stopped. According to her, TAV Georgia is ready for any negotiation, and they respect all the decisions of the new government. Although she added that Tbilisi Airport inevitably needs a new runway.

The Deputy Minister of Economy also commented on the issue. According to Natia Mikeladze, construction has been halted temporarily, but soon it will be renewed, “because this is a strategically important project; a second runway is necessary and the government will be responsible to take this issue into account,” said Mikeladze.