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UNM introduces plan for improving the economy

By Ana Robakidze
Friday, April 26
The United National Movement (UNM) has presented its own four point plan on the ways of reducing unemployment in Georgia.

The first point in the UNM plan states that the government should reduce taxes, to promote the creation of new jobs as well as the creation of a free labor market.

The second point in the UNM plan proposes a two year long moratorium on financial-economy related legislation amendments because according to the UNM, businesses create jobs. Therefore businesspeople should feel a permanent sense of safety and stability in Georgia. The second point also suggests that fiscal and economic crimes should be decriminalized.

In its third point the UNM calls on the government to maintain macro-economic plans to continue the flow of foreign investment in the country. "It is impossible to increase the level of employment without attracting foreign investment into the country." the plan reads.

The fourth point of the plan refers to the necessity of opening new export markets. Therefore the UNM says it is vital to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union in the near future and to speed up negotiations about creating a free trade agreement with the U.S.

The UNM plan advises the government to consider their plan to ensure that the worrying economic situation in the country will be improved as quickly as possible. After the cabinet meeting on April 25th various government ministers revealed that the current government does not share the UNM’s vision, as it has its own plan for economic development.

Minister of Economy Giorgi Kvirikashvili is surprised that the UNM has decided to offer its own plan for solving unemployment problems. He says the party was a ruling power for nine years, but could not improve Georgia's economy. "The path we are following is absolutely correct." Kvirikashvili said.

Finance Minister Nodar Khaduri says the UNM plan is nothing but an attempt to mislead the public. Khaduri reminded the UNM that they never kept their promise to reduce income tax to 18%, which was promised by 2012. Khaduri also mentioned that the current government has kept income tax at 20%, but meanwhile a nontaxable minimum income has been introduced. Khaduri says this is a socially fairer attitude to tax payers.

Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze had a similar reply. "We clearly saw the employment projects they [the UNM] implemented during their nine years in power. Therefore I don't take this plan seriously." Kaladze commented after the cabinet meeting.

Analyst Nika Chitadze says it would be better if the government considered the UNM's recommendation on reducing taxes. UNM reduced VAT from 20% to 18% and had a plan to reduce it even more. "Reduced taxes will allow companies to expand their business, create more jobs as well as have increase profits." Chitadze told The Messenger, adding that the government should focus more on EU market assimilation as the UNM advised in their plan. "We should remember that EU member countries were very important trading partners with Georgia in 2011-2012." Chitadze said. He advised the government that only focusing on the Russian market will not be enough for the development of the Georgian economy and that trade agreements with the E.U. and the U.S. should be signed as soon as possible.