Within the frames of the Ministerial Hour, Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Natia Turnava, spoke about the current situation in the Georgian economy, achievements, successes, reforms, challenges and ways to solve the problems related to the pandemic. Minister also answered the questions of the Members of Parliament.
“We have quite good achievements - high economic retrieval and recovery, export growth and other important directions. However, this does not give us grounds for contentment and we see the problems very well, we see well what direction we should work in the future. I hope that discussion in the legislative body of Georgian, even critical comments will ultimately be aimed at improving and making our economic policies more effective,” – the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development stated.
In her report, Natia Turnava spoke in detail about the main consequences affecting the economy in 2021, highlighted the difficulties brought by the pandemic and, what worries the population the most, including increased prices and inflation, the need to fight poverty, more jobs, etc.
“Unlike inflation, poverty is a problem that has accumulated throughout our recent history and events at different times have contributed to its generating. In terms of fighting poverty, the main directions of our economic policy are, first of all, to promote rapid economic recovery and provide more jobs. In this context, the new initiative of the Prime Minister, Irakli Gharibashvili, to employ able to work, socially vulnerable people in public jobs is very important. This is a project based on the successful experience of European countries, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Hungary, and will give positive motivation to socially vulnerable, able-bodied people to work and, in addition to social benefits, receive remuneration as well,” – the Minister said.
Turnava noted that the main strategy to increase employment is the development of Georgian business and Georgian production.
“Despite all the challenges, we have achieved the most important thing – peaceful, predictable, stable environment for business, to which Georgian business responds with a development-oriented attitude and new investments. This achievement is reflected in various international rating assessments. Georgia has been able to maintain its sovereign credit rating by ensuring resilience to economic shocks, while the credit ratings of many countries have deteriorated. All three rating companies (Fitch, S&P, Moodys’) confirm that Georgia has ensured that the rating remains at the pre-pandemic level and overcomes the crisis without deteriorating the rating. All three international rating agencies have confirmed that Georgia is resilient, despite the fact that the pandemic has hit us, we are macro-economically stable and the conditions for peaceful development of business have been created,” – Natia Turnava said.
The Minister noted that such an environment and state programs created for business development are the basis of the achievements in terms of growth in exports and foreign trade.
“During the pandemic, we achieved more growth in exports in 11 months than it was, for example, in 2019 as a whole, which, in all senses, was considered a positive year in terms of economy, tourism and exports, and we said that in 2019 we had a record export. However, now, in 11 months, we have been able to exceed this figure,” – the Minister of Economy said.
Speaking on foreign trade, Natia Turnava also said that Georgia is a country in the region that is most ready to start direct negotiations on free trade with the United States. According to the Minister, this spirit is reflected in the letter of the US Congressmen published few days ago, in which they addressed the US Trade Representative and called for the start of direct negotiations on free trade with Georgia.
“Following the instructions of the Prime Minister, we, like each of my colleagues, have developed and introduced to the population a 10-year development strategy, which makes both our economic policy and the business environment even more predictable. This is a very good practice, the implementation of which allows us to implement constant structural reforms and stability, which is one of the greatest achievements of our Government,” – Natia Turnava commented.
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