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Gov’t presents the 3rd stage of anti-crisis social assistance programs

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, August 7
The government will spend GEL410 million on social assistance - the relevant decision was announced today by the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Gakharia.

The assistance package allows that all self-employed who have submitted incomplete documentation for receiving a one-time GEL300 assistance, will be credited with compensation.

250 000 Georgian citizens applied to the Georgian government to receive compensation for the self-employed. This assistance was received by 170 000 citizens, that had presented necessary documents, however, as Gakharia notified yesterday, before the closure of the program remaining 80 000 citizens who failed to meet the requirements for filling in the documents, will be satisfied and will be given GEL300.

Also, all adolescents under 17 will receive GEL200 compensation from the government: “Who is at the highest risk now, who are the most vulnerable groups? “Of course, the children, and therefore it was impossible to choose a more correct group,” the Prime Minister explained.

Moreover, utility bills will be subsidized for the population in November, December, January and February:

“For those who have lost their jobs or receive a reduced salary, the government has decided to extend this program for 4 months of winter in terms of support for utility bills,” Gakharia stated. As before, 200 kWh and 200 m3 of gas consumption will be compensated by the government and relatively affluent citizens will be able to refuse such assistance in the program.

Gakharia also announced the partial reimbursement of tuition fees for vulnerable students. Due to the economic crisis, the state will partially or fully fund the tuition fees of more than 33,000 students who have up to 150,000 social points.

According to the Minister of Defense, Irakli Gharibashvili, Georgian servicemen and their families will receive 50% of the tuition fee and the excellent servicemen and their families will receive a ministerial scholarship of GEL750.

Gakharia explained that the implementation of these programs became possible because of two reasons:

“First - because under pressure from irresponsible politicians, we did not make unreasonable promises and unreasonable compensation in the first days, and second - with the citizens of Georgia and, of course, with Bidzina Ivanishvili, we were able to mobilize resources in the Stop COV fund.”

The PM also commented that the third stage of anti-crisis social assistance, which is being implemented by the Government of Georgia, is not related to the pre-election period. After the government session, Gakharia said that the start of the program was expedited so that it would not be perceived as part of the pre-election campaign. He also responded to such speculations by recalling his debate in the Parliament when the representative of the opposition remarked that the assistance programs for the population are small and need to be continued.

The Minister of Finance, Ivane Machavariani, explained where the funds needed for the provision of social assistance will be mobilized. According to Machavariani, the funds allocated for the social package will be fully allocated from the COVID Fund, which currently counts up to GEL135 million and the renewed state budget that envisioned GEL300 million for social assistance. According to him, because tourism can not be partially restored in 2020, this winter will be difficult, that’s why the decision of subsidizing utilities was made.

According to the Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia, a total of GEL410 million is provided for social assistance, of which GEL200 million will be used to subsidize utility costs, and GEL170 million will be spent on youth assistance packages.

Yesterday, the PM also presented a new member of the government, Tea Akhvlediani as the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality.

Until now, Tea Akhvlediani was the First Deputy Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs, and before that - the Ambassador of Georgia to Estonia.

Tea Akhvlediani replaced Ketevan Tsikhelashvili as the State Minister, who was appointed Ambassador of Georgia to Austria.