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PM dismisses controversy over planned amendments

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, December 9
Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said statements over a controversy within the Cabinet of Ministers regarding the 2016-2020 Action Plan that envisaged some “painful amendments” were “absolutely unfounded”.

The PM did not name to whom his comment referred, but stressed the Government was “unanimous” over the planned changes that envisaged increasing excise tax on tobacco, imported cars and oil products, as well as helping the national currency recover.

“I wish to once again clarify to the general public that the Action Plan has been developed by the entire Governmental team.

“This is the most important step made towards the key reforms planned in the country. Nothing and nobody can ever prevent us from the implementation of the vital reforms in the country, which are and will remain to be solely aimed at the welfare of our people and rapid development of our country,” Kvirikashvili stated.

The PM’s statement came shortly after the non-Parliamentary opposition representative, founder of New Georgia party and ex-member of the United National Movement Giorgi Vashadze, said Kvirikashvili and Finance Minister Dimitri Kumishvili had disputes over the planned financial amendments.

Vashadze stated the amendments were drafted “in 15 minutes” without any reasonable discussions, which would create an economic crisis in Georgia and stir problems with foreign monetary institutions.

The United National Movement Parliamentary opposition also believes the increased taxes would boost prices in Georgia and cause dissatisfaction amongst the public.

Irma Inashvili, the leader of the smallest opposition group in Parliament, the Alliance of Patriots, said her party would raise the issue of the Prime Minister’s impeachment, as further economic complications “were inevitable in the country”, especially when the national currency continued its devaluation against the US dollar, with 1 GEL costing 2.57 USD.

Meanwhile, members of the ruling Georgian Dream team claim the planned reforms and amendments would help the state economy to recover.