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Georgia Ranks 100th in the World in Terms of Fuel Prices, PM Garibashvili Says

By Khatia Bzhalava
Tuesday, March 29, 2022
Inflation, as well as rising prices, is a challenge around the world and naturally, Georgia cannot be an exception, Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili announced in response to protests in Georgia over rising fuel costs. As he noted, fuel prices are higher in 99 countries compared to Georgia.

On Sunday, protesters gathered to demand the abolition of excise tax on fuel and the transfer of the VAT to a floating regime, which, according to them, would reduce the price of fuel by 80-90 tetri. The police detained 20 activists when they tried to block the road.

Garibashvili noted that the protesters ‘behaved provocatively’ and assessed the events as ‘unacceptable’. According to him, the rally was orchestrated by the opposition party United National Movement, claiming that opponents of the Government are trying to mislead citizens regarding fuel prices and inflation.

Davit Usupashvili, one of the leaders of Lelo, stated that PM’s statement about the UNM being behind the rally is ‘comical’ and ‘impossible to comment on’.

According to the Prime Minister, the ongoing war in Ukraine affects prices and the economy. He also added that due to the economic crisis caused by the Covid pandemic, the inflation rate in many countries not only exceeded the forecast but in most cases, reached a record level.

As he noted, Georgia could not be the exception as it is connected to the world market. Garibashvili stressed that gas prices have risen sharply in Europe, adding that the cheapest gas in Europe is in Georgia, after Azerbaijan.

The Minister of Economy of Georgia announced that a potential decrease is expected in fuel prices through the importation of the product purchased at cheaper rates. He also noted that they are not considering abolishing the fuel tax, as he believes it is an ‘inadequate measure’.

Giorgi Vashadze, leader of the Strategy Aghmashenebeli party urged Prime Minister Gharibashvili to abolish the excise tax on fuel, stressing that Georgia could not be compared to the US or European countries like Germany.

“Abolishing excise tax is simple and the quickest way out of the current crisis,” he said.