Transport & Infrastructure the Top Priorities of Tbilisi Budget 2018

Next year, Georgia’s capital Tbilisi will have a budget of GEL 861 million ($334 million), with the top priorities transport and infrastructure.

The discussions of the draft budget made up by the former Mayor Davit Narmania and adjusted by the newly-elected Kakha Kaladze, were launched in Tbilisi City Council (Sakrebulo) on December 13 and the document will likely be adopted by the end of the week.

Irakli Khmaladze, the Deputy Mayor of Tbilisi, says that next year GEL 41 million more will be allocated from the city budget to improve transport infrastructure and the implementation of infrastructural projects.

“The most important direction in next year's budget will be the rehabilitation of historical places,” he said, adding that the rehabilitation of Orbeliani and Gudiashvili squares is planned.

The Deputy Mayor also said that in 2018, up to 11 metro stations will be rehabilitated, namely, the modernization of the metro and purchase of new equipment.

The opposition is also taking part in the discussions, however, as they have already stated, they will not support the draft budget as they “do not believe Kaladze's team will be able to solve the acute problems in the capital city through the 2018 budget.”

The opposition focuses its arguments on traffic jams, and social and employment issues and says Kaladze’s plans are not far different from the former mayor’s proposals, adding corruption risks still remain high.

The Mayor says his team will show real results in around three months, claiming that all his pre-election promises will gradually be fulfilled and the city will be changed for the better.

"The population of the capital supported me with the program I presented before the election. Accordingly, I am obliged to fulfill my promises. The budget presented by us provides for all those projects and programs we talked about in our election campaign: they will definitely be implemented," Kaladze said.

He also touched upon the issue of increasing the budget in the social direction and said it was important to create jobs for Tbilisi residents.

“The main thing is to create jobs, as this is the biggest problem the country faces today," Kaladze said.

A final draft of the proposed budget will be sent to the Georgian Parliament for approval in the coming days.

Thea Morrison

14 December 2017 19:16