NY Times: Georgian PM Pledges $606 mln to Help Economy in Coronavirus Crisis

The New York Times has devoted an article to the recent initiative by the Georgian government to allocate GEL 2 billion to support the country's economy amid the crisis related to the spread of the new coronavirus. 

"Georgia will put 2 billion Lari ($606 million) from its state budget toward helping the economy through the coronavirus pandemic, its Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said," the New York Times reports based on the information of Reuters. 

"Georgian authorities have said that the coronavirus crisis is likely to threaten the former Soviet country's economic growth forecast of 4.5% this year, but not by how much," the article further reads. 

"The economy expanded by 3.7% year-on-year in January-February, down from 4.1% in the same period of 2019, although this does not reflect Georgia's measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, which were implemented in March," the publication highlights. 

The head of the Georgian government also noted that 351 million GEL has already been mobilized in the crisis budget for measures to fight the coronavirus.

It is also emphasized that the government will fully fund the utility bills of those households who consume less than 200 kilowatts of electricity and 200 m3 of natural gas per month in March, April and May, meaning that the state will cover utility bills of those who pay maximum 36-37 GEL for electricity and up to 92 GEL for natural gas. 

"Around 20 million Lari had been accumulated in a special fund that had been set by Georgian private companies, while international financial institutions had also pledged support. The World Bank approved a 45 million Euro loan last week to support the country's economic growth and help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus crisis. The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday it was working with Georgia to provide support under the ongoing arrangement as well as through additional financing, but did not specify an amount or the timing of any disbursement," reads the article.

Source: The New York Times 

(Editing by Alexander Smith)

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