Mamuka Bakhtadze: Overall, 2018 has been quite positive, and we have tangible progress in a number of directions Print Version



As Georgia Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze stated during today's briefing before the year's concluding Government meeting, overall, 2018 has been a positive year, with tangible progress in a number of directions, as evidenced by Georgia's advancement in international rankings.
According to the Head of Government, 2018 has been very important in light of the country's progress toward European and Euro-Atlantic integration. Mamuka Bakhtadze believes that Georgia is closer to the European family than ever before.
"We will try to increase the visibility of these achievements in 2019 and, most importantly, to convert these achievements into improvements in our population's welfare. I also want to emphasize that 2018 has been a very productive year in Georgia-US relations. The relations between Georgia and the United States are more advanced and comprehensive than ever before," Mamuka Bakhtadze stated.
According to the Prime Minister, Georgia is praised as the regional torchbearer across every area.

Mamuka Bakhtadze singled out Georgia's presidential election and the country's switchover to a parliamentary model. He also emphasized parliamentary democracy as the best model for successfully overcoming the challenges facing the country.
"Many large infrastructural projects were implemented this year, with tens of kilometers of new modern roads, bridges, tunnels, and international-standard aerial lifts in the country, along with kindergartens and schools built. Of course, infrastructure will remain one of the top priority directions in 2019, and we will build many important strategic sites. This year has been especially successful for our culture. Far-reaching events were held in Europe to emphasize that Georgian culture is an integral part of European culture. Needless to say, we will build on this activism in 2019," Mamuka Bakhtadze said.
The Prime Minister underlined this year's athletic achievements. According to the Head of Government, 2019 will be even more eventful, so that the country may give a good account of itself at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
"Especially successful 2018 was in the area of sports. Undoubtedly, 2018 has been a year of triumphant Georgian sports. In fact, 2018 has been the most successful in the history of Georgian sports. Our athletes have garnered more than 800 medals on behalf of Georgia. 2019 will mark preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, and we will be maximally engaged to make sure that Georgia performs worthily in 2020," Mamuka Bakhtadze emphasized.
The Prime Minister also pointed out success in the area of tourism and emphasized the all-time high number of tourists visiting Georgia in 2018, which is indicative of Georgia's image as a safe, stable, and reliable country.
"The Ministry of Economy is working on a new tourism policy because important directions have been identified requiring additional investments and, to some extent, corrective measures," Mamuka Bakhtadze said.
According to the Prime Minister, the ongoing educational reform will advance to its active phase in 2019 to be one of the key priorities of the Georgian Government in the years to come. In addition, the youth component of the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport will be subordinated directly to the Prime Minister.
"The educational reforms is a long-term process. Still, 2019 will play a special role in the success of this reform. Alongside education, our priorities will include youth innovative policy, youth economy, and the engagement of youth in social, cultural, and political life. This is why we made a decision to subordinate the youth component to the Prime Minister to reiterate the importance we attach to youth and their future," Mamuka Bakhtadze stated.
According to the Head of Government, this year every agency has been successful, and important reforms in full swing in every ministry, notably the Interior Ministry and the Justice Ministry, with commendable achievements in the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Agriculture. The Prime Minister also underscored the total defense reform at the Defense Ministry which is designed to draw Georgia even closer to NATO.
"Our next year's budget makes up about 13 billion GEL. We have a two-year program with its budget resources amounting to 27 billion. Our main task is to use these resources as effectively as possible to provide our population with economic results in the shortest possible period and to lend them a hand in overcoming the problems we actually have in our everyday life today," Mamuka Bakhtadze stated.
According to the Head of Government, Georgia is still facing the two most difficult and painful challenges, Russian occupation and poverty. The Prime Minister emphasized that Georgia, together with its friend countries, will use every platform to ensure progress in the country's de-occupation.

"Unfortunately, Russia, which has not fulfilled its obligations assumed in 2008, has yet to withdraw its occupation troops from Georgian territories. We have developed a very important peace initiative, A Step to a Better Future. Our only response to this challenge is peace and development. We will spare no effort to ensure the timely launch of our peace initiative in cooperation with the international community. The more factories we have-like he one producing apple chips in the village of Ditsi-the easier we will find it to put in place new opportunities for our citizens in the occupied territories, to alleviate their everyday hardship, and that is our task," Mamuka Bakhtadze added.
According to the Prime Minister, overcoming poverty is and will be the absolute priority over the next two years, and the Government will do its best to adopt, as rapidly as possible, reforms promoting greater inclusive growth in Georgia.
"These reforms will enable us to change the economic model of the country's development in general and to adapt it to inclusive growth, one that will have a direct impact on every citizen of Georgia, one that will primarily seek to overcome poverty as fast as possible," Mamuka Bakhtadze said.

According to the Prime Minister, social assistance has already been enhanced this year for those most needy, and social programs will continue and improve next year as well.
As the Head of Government emphasized, financial burden was removed this year from the shoulders of hundreds of thousands of Georgian citizens, but that is not enough to make sure that economic progress reflects in the life of each citizen. The Prime Minister firmly believes that 2019 will be a decisive year, and that the new economic model to be launched in Georgia will bring about inclusive growth in the country.
Mamuka Bakhtadze thanked media outlets for cooperation and wished them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
"I avail myself of this opportunity to thank everyone, journalists and camera operators, for your work. I believe our cooperation has been a success, and I hope that our relations next year will grow even more intense, and more importantly, we will have more positive to share with you." Mamuka Bakhtadze said.

Prime Minister's Press Office