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Debates for debates

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, October 3
The liberalization of fees and decrease in income tax are the main platform of the United National Movement (UNM). They aim to achieve this in collaboration with the governing Georgian Dream coalition (GD) through a legislative initiative. GD members stress that the UNM intends on cheating people as they had the past nine years. The statements concerning the economic challenges the country is facing nowadays were made at the Parliament on October 1, during the economic debates between the majority and minority members.

The minority initiated the debates and the GD accepted the challenge. However, the situation at the parliament looked more like accusations towards one another, rather than finding common ways for economic advancement, as it was announced before starting the debates.

The minority claimed that for the first time during the last 9 years there were better economic figures in the last year compared to the current situation. The minority stressed that the main reason behind the economic downfall were the non-professional decisions made under the new state officials.

The majority thinks that the statements made by the UNM were just lies. Coalition members emphasized that their main aim is to ensure systemic changes and carry out long-term projects that will provide real growth in the economy.

Coalition member, Zurab Tkemaladze, stressed that one of the main achievements of the new government was to open the Russian market, projects planned concerning gas provision, construction of Hydro Electro Power stations, systemic modification and attitudes concerning the country’s economic advancement.

He stated that Georgia’s trade turnover with Russian Federation has increased by 35% and reached $426 million USD. Tkemaladze also said that there are no facts of forcibly giving private property to the government, which affected the economy and private businesses under the former government.

UNM MP, Goka Gabashvili, stated that the fact of opening the foreign markets is positive. However, this should not be done on return of the talks on the Eurasian Union, which raises the questions about Georgia’s possible entrance into the organization.

Members of the UNM shifted attention to the hardship the party received from its predecessors in 2003. The UNM managed to pull the country out of the worst economic situation. According to the UNM MP, Pavle Kublashvili, they gave an economically powerful country to the coalition.

The UNM MP, Mikheil Machavariani, stated that there were 25 different fees when the UNM came to power and they decreased them to 5.

The UNM members reminded the government about the issue of privatization of lands on foreigners. Kublashvili stressed that the UNM had tried to persuade the government not to suspend the process as it would create a threat to the investment environment in the country.

“The Prime Minister stated several days ago that the decision was wrong. I am sure that many of you would say the same in the near future,” Kublashvili said.

The UNM MPs also stressed that imports have decreased in the country.

Import decreased by 1.9 % and exports increased by 13%. I think that increase of export is more important than the slight decrease in import,” coalition MP, Zviad Dzidziguri, said.

The GD members stated that the claims of the UNM were just a facade and the real situation was undesirable.

“Our inheritance was a horrible economic situation, occupied regions, violated human rights, deteriorated democratic institutions and extreme poverty,” coalition MP, Davit Onoprishvili said, adding that only a small percentage of Georgians gained profit under the UNM governance when 85% of people were sacrificed for poverty.

GD member, Gogi Topadze underscored that there was no room for business development in the county, as the former government members were demanding shares from the owners or just grabbed their property.