Special Statement by the Prime Minister of Georgia Print Version

2017-11-13

Greetings,
Yet another successful election under our government in our country, and the great trust expressed by the voters, grant us a mandate to continue our irreversible course of action; moreover, to announce a new wave of changes that better copes with challenges and serves our ultimate goal of ensuring the welfare of our population, every citizen, and the country's rapid development.
To this end, we plan a series of structural and functional changes actively planned by our team. I would like to emphasize that the upcoming changes will serve the purpose of greater progress, of shaping an even more modern state and flexible state apparatus which in itself maximally reduces administrative expenses.
Allow me to introduce these very important changes that will modify the Cabinet's organization structure followed by a reshuffle in the following directions:
• The Ministry of Energy and the natural resources management component of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection will be incorporated into the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

First Vice Prime Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili will be appointed Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development to coordinate the work of the economic team.
As you know, rapid economic development, which is one of the top priorities of our Government, involves the implementation of an even more flexible economic policy. The Ministry of Economy is a multisector agency responsible not only for developing the key directions of economic policy in general but also for developing foreign trade, transport, communications, innovations, and other sectoral directions. Placing energy, natural resources management, and other economic directions under one umbrella will increase the effectiveness of our economic development and its focus on results.

• Current Minister of Economy Giorgi Gakharia will be appointed Minister of Interior. The role of the Interior Ministry, the prestige of the police forces, fighting crime, and public order are our key priorities. To emphasize their importance, the Minister will also assume the Office of Vice Prime Minister.
It is because of his managerial experience that Giorgi Gakharia was selected for this position, and we are convinced that he will prove successful.

• In addition, according to the changes, the integration and reorganization of the Emergency Management Agency, currently under the Interior Ministry, and the State Security and Crisis Management Council will result in the creation of the Emergency Management Center led by Giorgi Mghebrishvili.
It must be an office with operational functions directly under the Prime Minister. Giorgi Mghebrishvili has experience in managing emergency situations and he is very effective in this area.

• Mamuka Bakhtadze, the current Director General at Georgian Railway, will be appointed as Minister of Finance.
He is a well-educated and experienced manager who has showed tangible results while running Georgian Railway.
It was under his management that Georgian Railway was integrated into the Silk Road Corridor and active work was launched on the creation of the new Persian Gulf-Black Sea transit corridor, modern management systems were adopted and the railroad fleet was rejuvenated.
Mamuka Bakhtadze holds a doctoral degree in technical sciences, also a master's degree in business administration from the INSEAD Business School.

• The youth affairs management component of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs will be incorporated into the Ministry of Education and Science, and Mikheil Chkhenkeli, the vice-rector of the Tbilisi State University, who is well-known in academic circle will be appointed to the Office of Minister. Mikheil Chkhenkeli is mathematician. He did his PhD in the University of Pennsylvania. Throughout 20 years Mr. Chkhenkeli taught at the leading universities in the US. He holds multiple awards for scientific and academic works, including a number of teaching awards from the University of Pennsylvania, Goldman Sachs Foundation prize, scientific and research grants and scholarships. He delivers lectures in the United States and has close professional ties with number of leading universities, including Harvard, Princeton, Pennsylvania, etc.

• The sports component of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs will be incorporated into the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection, and Mikheil Giorgadze will be appointed to the Office of Minister.
The incorporation of the youth affairs management component into the education element will offer greater opportunities for the youth direction and will integrate it into the education reform.
As for the sports direction, its integration into culture will provide equal opportunities in these two vitally important directions and will further upgrade the effectiveness of their management.

• The Ministry of Agriculture will merge with the Ministry of Environment and Levan Davitashvili will be appointed to the Office of Minister.
Placing environment protection and agriculture, two vitally important areas to the country, under one roof is a tried and tested practice in many developed countries. This model operates in such successful countries as Spain, Austria, and Holland, and similar model work in Portugal, France, Italy, and Bulgaria.
This approach ensures further strengthening both directions and in nowise weakens one or another.

• The State Ministry for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration will be incorporated into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Vice Prime Minister Mikheil Janelidze will be appointed to the Office of Minister.
The new European integration challenges we are facing involve a far broader context that is prioritized by our foreign relations agencies as the main direction. The fact that the Vice Prime Minister is in charge of this direction indicates the necessity of coordinating internal reforms regarding European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.

• Another change to be referred to the Parliament for approval involves the Foreign Intelligence Service becoming part of the State Security Service.
We have already implemented important changes in this area, and it is only natural to welcome the empowerment of the Security Service because foreign intelligence is part of the country's security, and this change only completes this logical chain.

• This package of important changes will be approved at the nearest Government meeting to be referred further to the Parliament for consideration. The Administration of the Government of Georgia will, within the shortest possible timeframe, coordinate legal issues pertaining to the changes. I would like to urge the Parliament to support this reform, so that this process may be finalized by the end of this year.

• After the completion of the legislative process, the new composition of the Cabinet will appear in Parliament for a vote of renewed confidence.

• I am grateful to all members of our team for their work, those to whom these changes apply, and who of course remain members of our team.

• As for the idea behind the structural and organizational changes, why are they so important? Our every campaign promise and reform has served the wellbeing of our citizens and the country's rapid development. Since assuming power, we have implemented more than one important systemic change.

• Human being was always at the heart of reforms of the Interior Ministry, the Chief Prosecutor's Office, the judiciary, and the amendments to the Criminal Code. This is why all these changes have brought about the greatest progress in human rights protections, as evidenced by all international rankings.

• We have also overhauled and centered on a human being such areas as healthcare, agriculture, and economy, implementing numerous state programs offering ordinary citizens new opportunities.

• In addition, our style is to make sure changes are maximally painless and evolutionary, not radical.

• A time has come on the path to building a modern state when changes must apply to governmental institutions so that a more flexible state apparatus may emerge, maximal optimization may be put in place, management may become more flexible, and bureaucracy may be reduced.

This is the rationale behind the upcoming changes.

• I am convinced that these reforms and changes will make a tremendous difference in our country's progress and development.