PM Presents 3rd Phase of the Government's Anti-Crisis Plan

Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia presented the third phase of the government's anti-crisis plan at today's session of the Interagency Coordination Council. 

He spoke about the measures implemented so far within the framework of the Anti-Crisis Plan, noting that from the very beginning, the struggle was waged on two fronts – those of human life and health, and the social situation of the citizens.

"We have been saying from the outset that our main goal is to fight and win on two fronts. First of all, of course, this concerns the health and the lives of our citizens and, of course, there is also the economic crisis and the social situation of our citizens. From the very beginning, during the first stage, we announced a specific plan on social assistance, which included, as you can recall, the compensation of utility bills by the state. 1.2 million families in Georgia have benefited from this program. Then, we took the following step in addition – this was the component of debt deferral for 600,000 of our citizens. Furthermore, following the identification of the most affected economic sector, which was tourism, concrete steps were taken in terms of providing the sector with direct support. This was the first stage of the Anti-Crisis Plan; however, it soon became clear that this was a drop in the ocean and, of course, it would not have satisfied our citizens as it was not enough. After that, the extensive social assistance program was launched, which aimed to provide support to everyone who officially lost their jobs and the support provided to them, as you may recall, amounted to 1,200 GEL over a period of six months," the head of the government stated.

The Prime Minister noted that support has never been provided to self-employed persons in this country and that no government of Georgia has remembered self-employed persons during any crisis.

"We allocated 300 GEL for the purpose of providing one-time support to our self-employed persons and, additionally, there were specific areas of assistance – 600 GEL for persons with disabilities, large families, by way of providing 100 GEL per month in assistance. However, it soon became clear that this too was not enough. We have always said that this could be a severe and long-lasting crisis and that the Georgian Government, given its meager economic resources, will do everything to assist every Georgian family, and we must continue to take these steps today," he stated.

Giorgi Gakharia spoke about the program on the provision of one-time assistance to self-employed persons, noting that the Government of Georgia is concluding the second stage with the fact that every self-employed person who applied to the government – and this amounts to 250,000 people – will receive these funds without delay, by September.

"Before moving on to concrete steps related to the third stage of the provision of extensive social support to our citizens during the economic crisis, I would like to close one transitional component today, and to conclude this program. This concerns support for self-employed persons. We launched this program several months ago. Up to 250,000 citizens applied to the Government of Georgia with a request for one-time assistance for self-employed persons amounting to 300 GEL during this period. Of course, everyone received this assistance – the 170,000 citizens who had fully completed the relevant documentation, and whose documentation fully met the requirements of the ordinance of government. However, before moving on to the second stage today and concluding the program on the support of self-employed persons, we made the decision to approve the requests of the remaining 80,000 citizens who failed to fully meet the documentation requirements, and to provide them with 300 GEL in one-time assistance. With this, the program on the provision of one-time assistance to self-employed persons will end. All other programs that provided social assistance to our citizens, be it [support for] persons who have lost their jobs, persons with disabilities, large families – all of this will continue, and will do so for the appropriate duration.  As a result, we are concluding the second phase with the fact that every self-employed person who applied to the government – and this amounts to 250,000 people – will receive these funds without delay, by September," he noted.

The Prime Minister spoke about the next phase – Phase III – of the government's Anti-Crisis Plan, which aims to take care of the citizens and provide them with social support. According to him, in order to compensate for the reduced income experienced by the families of our citizens or the loss of jobs, the government has decided to extend this program in terms of providing support for utility bills for the four months of winter – November, December, January, and February.

Based on his explanation, the principle will remain the same and up to 200 kWh of electricity and up to 200 m3 of gas will be compensated by the government. According to Giorgi Gakharia, relatively wealthy citizens will have the opportunity to refuse such assistance.

"The third stage is extremely important because we can all see that the economic crisis will be long-lasting. We are not talking about a crisis until the end of the year – we understand that the next two years will be quite difficult for the global economy and Georgia, of course, as one of the most open economies in the region and a part of the global economy, we must do everything to alleviate the impact of this crisis on our citizens as much as possible," he stated.

Giorgi Gakharia also stated that every child aged 17 and below will receive 200-GEL assistance from the state.

"Most importantly, our citizens will receive assistance from the state amid the recession, namely children aged 17 and below will receive 200-GEL assistance. Amid the recession, it will be significant social assistance for children ahead of and in the process of the academic year. Every Georgian citizen aged 17 an below will receive one-off assistance in the amount of 200 GEL, and this assistance will prove helpful ahead of and during the upcoming academic year," the PM stated.

While speaking about the Anti-Crisis Plan, he also stated that every student with up to 150,000 social rating points will receive full funding from the state for one semester of the 2020-2021 academic year.

"Every student with up to 150,000 social rating points will receive a full state-funded compensation for one semester tuition fees in the 2021 academic year. In addition, every student with up to 150,000 social rating points and suspended student status due to failure to cover tuition fees will receive a 2,250-GEL compensation for 2020-2021 tuition fees from the state. Overall, more than 33,000 students will benefit throughout Georgia," Gakharia stated.

He pointed out that the government must do everything in its power to prevent the recession from affecting the process of educating the youth.

"I would like to emphasize that the main target groups of phase three under the government’s social assistance effort consist of our young people, because we must do everything to prevent recession from affecting the process of educating the youth. We will do everything to enable families, whose incomes have decreased because of the recession, to provide their children with a decent upbringing and education," Gakharia stated.

The head of the government noted that the main principle will involve the prudent and fair allocation of the country’s limited economic resources.

"Furthermore, I would like to tell you that it is already clear that this economic crisis will last quite a while. Of course, we will continue caring for and standing by our citizens. Our key guiding principle, as usual, will involve the prudent and fair allocation of the country’s limited economic resources," he said.

During the session of the government, the Prime Minister also instructed the relevant agencies to organize another affordable flight on 11 August for students with study and work permits in Germany. In his words, the tickets will not cost more than 199 euros.

"The academic year is about to start, and both Georgia and our partner countries are making ready for it. As you know, many Georgian students are studying and working in Europe. But they are facing travel-related problems. A few weeks ago, we were addressed by a group of students holding German work permits but unable to travel to Germany. Back then, the Government secured a charter flight to Berlin for a group put together by the Youth Agency. There is another group of students in need of traveling to Germany. I instruct the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education and the Youth Agency to organize this group as fast as possible and ensure another flight by August 11. There are also requests from our youth studying in Hungary. We need to identify the size of this group as well. And if need be, we must assist them by facilitating a charter flight with ticket prices not exceeding 199 euro," the Prime Minister noted.


06 August 2020 20:13