Finance Minister Meets Protesting Truck Drivers

Finance Minister of Georgia, Ivane Machavariani, had a meeting with wheat carrying entrepreneurs and a drivers' initiative group, who are protesting the Minister’s decision to ban the import of wheat by road.

Machavariani offered the initiative group a delay on the activation of the decision until January 2019, in order to seek a solution to the emerging disagreement.

The Minister also offered to set up a working group with the involvement of the ministry representatives that will work with them to resolve issues related to wheat importation by road and eventually make decisions that are acceptable for everyone.

“January 1 will allow us enough time to overcome this issue and find a painless and acceptable option for everyone. I promise you no decision will be taken without your participation. I believe we will reach an agreement," said the Minister.

Machavariani’s order was issued on August 22, according to which wheat can be transported to Georgia only by sea or rail. This rule was to come into force on September 15, but its enactment was postponed until October 1, amid truck drivers’ protests. However, now it has been postponed until the end of the year.

Constant queues at border crossing points were named as the main reason for banning wheat import by road.

The protesting truck drivers claim the government first tried to run them out of business by increasing prices on services and creating other administrative barriers, and now are trying to leave the drivers unemployed.

The drivers demand the minister revoke his decision and allow wheat importing companies to operate in the usual manner.

By Thea Morrison



20 September 2018 11:41