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New 'Business Council' initiative to be launched

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, January 14
The Business council will be formed under the initiative of Georgian parliament speaker, Davit Bakradze, in parliament by the end of the month. A statement concerning the issue was made by Bakradze, on January 12. Reportedly, the council's staff will comprise of business representatives, senior law makers and one member from the opposition.

As it was announced after the meeting between the parliamentary chairman and representatives from the Business Association of Georgia on January 12, the main goal of the Business Council would be the ”provision of better communication between the lawmakers, government and business.”

As the participants of the meeting have mentioned, the council will consist of senior lawmakers and business representatives, who would address problems, including legislature and facing business people. As it was revealed on the second day, one oppositional representative will also participate in the council activities.

“The Parliament plays an important role in what kind of tax and business environment we will have. Therefore, we want such meetings to be held periodically in order to listen to your recommendations, your remarks, your advices and you will hear from us what is happening in the country, what are our assessments and what particular plans we have,” Bakradze stated.

The new tax code has been one of the main themes of the meeting, as the President of Business Association of Georgian (BAG) and CEO of IT company, UGT, Giorgi Chirakadze, said “The new tax code was a step forward, but shortcomings still remained.” He said BAG would continue close cooperation with the Parliament and government to address those shortcomings.

It was announced on January 13, that Guram Chkhvadze of National Democrats will represent the opposition in the new council, which will be in charge of discussing fiscal and business issues and take part in the process of drafting the state budget.

Certain elements of the Georgian opposition are “skeptical” rather than “negative” about this initiative. As the representative of New Rights, Manana Nachkebia told The Messenger, “The authorities have lots of information on what is going on in the business field in the country and what problems exist in this direction. Positive changes in business depend on the authorities’ will and not on any council created for this reason. That is why we are skeptical concerning the council. “

The initiative looks like decoration more than real desire to bring positive changes in business, political analyst, Ramaz Sakvarelidze told The Messenger, “The council might bring some positive outcomes and this initiative can be considered as a recall of the president’s statements on changes needed in the business field. However, problems in business in Georgia have not been imposed due to natural disasters, the authorities have created these problems. If the government had not created such obstacles, these problems would not exist. That is the reason I consider this initiative more decorative and a PR stunt, rather than a real desire to assist business development in the country.”