PM Answers Lawmakers’ Questions in Parliament within Interpellation Format

On Friday, May 29, the Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia arrived in Parliament to answer opposition lawmakers’ questions over his Cabinet’s handling of the coronavirus crisis within interpellation format.

The MPs asked the Prime Minister about the recent crisis created due to the coronavirus in the country, the plan for providing financial assistance to the citizens who lost their income during the pandemic, and the plan for the economic revival of the country, the devaluation of the national currency, etc.

Below are the main messages and accents from his answers in response to the MP's questions.

427,206 people have already received social assistance from the state

427,206 people have already received social assistance from the state, the head of the government said in the Parliament.

“From the tribune of the Parliament, I promised you that the social payments would start by the end of the week and, of course, these payments started. As of today, after May 25, 72 175 of our citizens have started receiving 1 200 GEL in social assistance. This is the amount of money that has already been transferred. 52 151 self-employed have already received compensation in the amount of 300 GEL; 194 796 our fellow citizens, who have 65 000 – 100 000 rating score, also already received social assistance; 22 644 of our citizens, large families, have already received assistance from the state; 40 440 persons with disabilities and children with disabilities have already received this assistance; 18 000 farmers have already purchased agro-diesel at a discounted price, and 27 000 farmers have already been credited with agro points.

“These, my friends, are 427 206 people, who already received social assistance from the State,” said Giorgi Gakharia.

The poverty rate has halved  in Georgia 

“Poverty rate was more than 30% in Georgia in 2012, today it is 19.5%. Based on the World Bank, extreme poverty has halved,” the PM noted while answering to the MPs questions about the poverty rate in Georgia. 

He added that poverty among children under the age of 17 is reduced from 34.7% to 25.5%.

“Of course, everyone understands well that poverty has been a structural problem of our country’s economy for the last few decades and that is a fact. I would like to explain that in recent years, specifically after 2012, the poverty rate in Georgia has decreased by 10.5 percentage points. In 2012, the poverty rate was more than 30% in Georgia, today it is 19.5%. Based on the World Bank, extreme poverty in Georgia has halved. In addition, I would like to tell you that poverty among children under 17 is reduced from 34.7% to 25.5%,” he pointed out.

Gakharia stressed that pensions have increased by 20 GEL and despite the severe economic crisis, the growth of pensions will continue from July, though the prime minister also emphasized that these figures are significantly less than sufficient.

He added that the daily, hard life of the citizens of Georgia is behind all these numbers.

"We must all understand that we have taken steps of the utmost importance in the last seven-eight years in order to ensure that the dynamics in terms of the reduction of poverty in the country were, at the very least, a source of hope for every citizen; so that we could at least create basic dynamics in the context of the fight against poverty, and make at least a certain amount of progress," the head of the government stated.

In his words, the funding of the healthcare system in 2012 amounted to 332 million GEL, whereas today, it amounts to 1.076 billion GEL.

The Prime Minister also added that 1/3 of Georgia’s budget is directed to social spending.

PM: This country deserves a little better and more competent opposition

"Every program presented today by the Georgian Government stands for caring for our farmers, teachers, police officers, and ultimately all our citizens. Unfortunately, our opposition does not seem to be competent enough, and I believe that this country deserves a better, more competent opposition," the Prime Minister said.

In his words, the problem is that, as the Government, amid a most demanding crisis, is fighting for lives, for helping people continue providing for their families, some politicians engage in speculations in an attempt to gain political scores and dividends.

"Sadly, the problem is that, amid a most demanding crisis, as we have fought for the lives of our citizens, to keep alive their incomes to provide for their families, they speculate and collect political scores and dividends at the expense of people's hardship and poverty. I understand that what we are doing today to help our citizens with our limited resources is not enough, but we all must remember what has been done in recent years, all just to serve the interests of our citizens, though caring for them. And it is our sad reality that you, instead of thinking what can be done to solve the actual problems of pensioners and children, and to uproot poverty once and for all, all you do is think about why Kvirikashvili was replaced. You are living in the past where you belong," he said.

Transit drivers are at higher risk from coronavirus

Prime Minister of Georgia addressed the heads of the shipping companies and called for close cooperation with the local government, the Ministry of Health and the Coordination Headquarters.

As the PM said in Parliament on Friday, transit drivers are at higher risk from coronavirus.

"First of all, I would like to call on the owners of the transport company to work closely with the local government, the Ministry of Health and the Coordination Headquarters. It is clear that they are at a higher risk from the coronavirus and it’s critically important for them to continue their work but under control. I think it is extremely important for our citizens today,” he noted.

The Prime Minister delivered a speech in the Parliament and answered the lawmakers’ questions on May 27.

By Ana Dumbadze 

Related Story: 10 Main Messages from PM’s Report to Parliament on COVID-19

29 May 2020 15:28