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New Ministries and Ministers from next week

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, June 29
Structural changes in the Government will be confirmed by the end of next week, Prime Minister Nika Gilauri said on June 28 after consultations with Parliament Speaker Davit Bakradze.

“We have agreed on the terms in which the new structural changes should be confirmed and we have agreed that they will come into force at the end of next week,” Gilauri said.

Further details were given on the same day. The Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation will be renamed the Ministry of Refugee, Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories and Accommodation. A separate Sport and Youth Affairs Ministry will be created out of a department of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection. Transport administration will become the responsibiliy of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, the new name for the Ministry of Economic Development.

Some new Ministers will also be appointed, as previously announced. Vera Kobalia will be the new Minister of Economics and Sustainable Development, Ramaz Nikolaishvili the Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure and former Governor of Shida Kartli Vladimer (Lado)Vardzelashvili will be Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs.

The suggested changes are totally acceptable for the authorities. "As nearly 20% of the country’s territory is occupied by Russia and the Georgian Government is trying to get the international community to recognise this fact and use this term, we consider it reasonable to emphasise this in the name of the Ministry and rename it the Ministry for Refugees, Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories and Accommodation. This means that the Ministry’s priority will be the protection of the rights of persons displaced from the occupied territories,” Gia Khuroshvili, the Government’s Parliamentary Secretary, said. However the opposition do not agree with the changes, saying that they will impose additional expense. "I cannot agree with these structural changes, as when the number of Ministries increases it creates pointless additional spending. There is no need to create one more social Ministry if we want to develop new social programmes,” MP Guram Chakhvadze stated. Finance Minister Kakha Baindurashvili declared in response to the opposition that “These amendments will only be of a technical nature and will not impose any additional expenses on the State Budget”.

Analyst Giorgi Khutsishvili told The Messenger, "These structural changes are pointless and unacceptable for me. I have the impression that the Government needs to create some additional posts for sits supporters and these changes are being carried out for this purpose alone. It has frequently been said that we have too many Ministries already for such a small country as Georgia, but rather than reduce their number the Government is trying to increase it, an artificial step unprofitable for the country,” Khutsishvili said.