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2013 budget draft disliked by opposition

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, November 7
The 2013 state budget draft is available. The draft foresees specific changes and a decrease in funding for various institutions. Social and agricultural fields are favored and an emphasis is mainly being placed on keeping promises made during the election campaign.

In the case that the draft is confirmed, the president’s administration and his reserve fund would not be favored. According to the draft, funding of the Presidential Administration of Georgia will be decreased from 14.1 million GEL to 9.2 million GEL. The draft also reveals that the president’s reserve fund will be decreased from GEL 50 million to GEL 10 million.

Funding will also be decreased for Georgian regions, the National Security Council and for the Central Election Commission (CEC).

GEL 1.8 million will be allocated for the National Security Council instead of GEL 24.7 million. Nothing has been said about the council’s political events for which GEL 23 million was allocated for the 2012 state budget.

Funding of the CEC will be decreased from GEL 48.3 million to GEL 42 million.

The funding of parliament will be increased as well as all those expenses which are targeted for social issues. An increase in funding is also foreseen for the Patriarchate (funding will be GEL 25 million, the former funding was GEL 22. 8 million. Funding will be increased for the State Audit Agency as well. The government’s reserve fund will remain the same and will consist of GEL 50 million.

The majority representatives, Davit Onoprishvili and Davit Ebralidze, have estimated the draft as “public oriented and purposeful.”

According to them all those promises which had been given to people by the coalition is reflected in the budget.

“Social issues, increase in pensions and the doubling of social assistance, universal healthcare, assistance of agriculture are more focused on in the draft. A 1 billion GEL fund for agricultural development will also be created. However, additional budgetary funding will be attracted in this direction,” Onoprishvili said.

Despite the fact the draft has not been confirmed yet, the president’s administration has already taken specific steps in compliance with the draft.

The president’s administration will switch-off the lightning system at the president’s palace.

“Due to the reduction in funds to the president’s administration in the new budget, a decision has been made to apply to compulsory measures and switch off the lighting system of the surrounding territory of the president’s administration except the security perimeter, which is necessary for providing security aims,” the special statement of the president’s administration reads.

The parliamentary minority has called the draft “obscure and a sign of revenge.”

According to MP, Giorgi Vashadze, there are no concrete numbers and details how the coalition is going to fulfill its pre-election promises.

“A decrease in funding for the Georgian regions is absurd as well. What should we decrease? Providing the villages with gas or roads?” Vashadze said. He also emphasized that the majority is going to decrease the funding of those fields in which the coalition has no influence.

Pavle Kublashvili, fellow representative of the UNM, underscored that the draft is politically motivated.

“Those restrictions which are reflected in the draft, the meaning reduction of funding of the president’s institution, National Security Council, self-governments and regions, definitely indicate that this is a politically motivated decision,” Kublashvili stated.

He also emphasized that the coalition has chosen the wrong way, which is based on political revenge.

MP, Mikheil Machavariani stated that the UNM has many questions to ask the coalition.

“One of the questions concerns economic growth. It is said that less than 7% economic growth is awaited. While being of the previous government, economic growth was 7%. If we were so bad and yet we still had 7% economic growth, why does the new government speak about less than 7%?” Machavariani asked, adding that there are questions concerning agriculture, free education and some other campaign promises which had been given by the coalition and which do not seem to come true through the budget draft.