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Ministry of Infrastructure representatives deliver a detailed report to NGOs

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, June 21
Representatives of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure met with NGO's on June 20th and presented a report concerning the Ministry's actions from November 6th, 2012 until April 25, 2013. Minister of Infrastructure Davit Narmania led the presentation of the report. Memorandum was signed between Civil Development Agency (CiDA) and the Ministry.

The Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure created the report in response to long standing complaints that the ministry has not made enough information about its activities available to the public.

According to Salome Kobalava, the main expert in public relations at the ministry, during the five month period covered in the report, the ministry received 67 applications for more information on its activities.

"The ministry responded to all the applications. 57 were fully satisfied, four partially, one was rejected, two were informed that the ministry had no relevant information and three were sent to responsible structures. All queries were responded to within 10 days." Kobalava said.

Davit Narmania stressed that the main aim of the ministry is ensuring transparency and implementing infrastructural projects. He stressed that speculation about the ministry's finances are far from reality.

“The financing for and number of public projects has significantly increased under the new government. Figures from the ministry show this. For example, almost 24 million GEL for road works has been spent in the last six months-that is 65% more compared to the same period of time last year." Narmania said.

Deputy Minister Shota Murghulia, stated that the ministry is ready to carry out more important projects. He added though that several contracting companies have serious financial problems which might delay the implementation of various projects.

"Several companies have stated that they are in a poor financial state due to pressure exerted upon them by the previous government. That is why the ministry has chosen to pay contracting companies every 10 days rather than in a lump sum at the end of the project. This enables them to keep financially afloat." Murghulia stated.

Ministry representatives stated that the quality of the completed work is most essential and in this regard active collaboration with NGOs is welcome. Therefore the ministry and CiDA signed a memorandum about cooperation.

CiDA is a founder of the Regional Civil Society Network (R-CSN), a group of 40 civil society organizations from 11 regions around Georgia.

Acccording to CiDA head Zviad Devdariani, collaboration is important as CiDA has well-informed contacts around Georgia that can give the ministry up to date and relevant information on the quality of work being conducted by the ministry.

"The ministry will have its partner in the regions which will provide it with much needed information. We are also planning to carry out a survey on villages’ needs and abilities. I think that the outcome of the survey will also be important for the ministry.” Devdariani stated.

Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Tengiz Shergelashvili stated that the ministry is also open for collaboration with all interested NGO's and other organizations.

Attendees at the meeting stated that the ministry's transparency level has significantly increased. One problem currently being addressed by the ministry is landfills. Murghulia stated that in two or three years, eight or nine European standard sized landfills will be constructed in Georgia that will significantly reduce the problem.

"It is a long process and requires a lot of money. Until the landfills are formed, the ministry will carry our various other measures to reduce problems in this matter." Murghulia said.