“Government of Georgia singles out four key priorities in its routine and long-term plans: security; economic development and job creation; education and human development capital; open governance” states Prime Minister of Georgia Print Version

2020-01-29

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"We all understand it well that Georgia is a transition democracy. We have quite heavy post-soviet legacy and we also conceptualize that we may need years for reforms to get approximated and to comply with European standards that we ambitiously aspire" stated Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia in his speech delivered at a Donor Coordination Conference today.

In his welcoming remarks, Head of Government of Georgia focused on the four key priorities of the Government: security; economic development; infrastructure and trade; human capital development and open governance.

"It is a great honor for us to hold this conference today and have a close interaction with our partners in a work-group environment. It is of critical importance. Irrespective of the fact that sadly this event has not been held in over two years, we need to say that it is a traditional meeting between us and our development partners. Today we have an opportunity to closely discuss each issue that is essential for the future reform agenda of the country in a work-group environment. Also, we are keen to discuss the need of your support towards such reforms" added the Head of Government of Georgia.

Prime Minister of Georgia stressed that over 7 BLN USD has been allocated by various international organizations and financial institutions within this format in the timeline including 2018.

"When we discuss diverse topics at the Donor Coordination Conference, it is of critical importance for us to fine-tune the intentions and strategic directions, which are elaborated and defined in the Action Plan of the Government. We should talk about them today, as our aspiration to be on the same page should be most effective and precise. You may well be aware that Government of Georgia singles out four key priorities towards this end in its routine and long-term plans. They are: security; economic development and job creation; education and human capital development; open governance - latter being the most important for us" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.

In his speech, Head of Government of Georgia focused on security being the main goal and challenge of the country.

In the opinion of the Prime Minister of Georgia, most effective tool for the fight against occupation and guarantee of national security is the foreign policy of Georgia - European and Euro-Atlantic orientation.

Head of Government of Georgia stressed that its position has been openly stated by the Government towards resolving the problem of occupation solely through peaceful method and negotiations.

"Security - you may agree - is the main goal and challenge of the country. It is impossible to talk about security of Georgia, when 20 percent of the country is under occupation. We all understand it well that when we talk about occupation, we mean not only 20% of Georgian land, but also development of the country being restricted by 20% in every dimension, starting from economy and ended with culture. What is most important is that it applies to human capital development. In addition, we all understand it well that key direction of our foreign policy is the European and Euro-Atlantic integration, which is the main and most significant response to what is called occupation in the country" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of Government of Georgia focused on the domestic security component as one of the main part of the Action Plan developed by the Government. Prime Minister stressed that it covers both sound operation of the law and order, as well as the creation of a common system of criminal justice policy in the country.

"It is of critical importance to us and we are confident that within the work-groups to be held today we will confirm the progress achieved in the country to our colleagues and will be able to speak about the essential plans that we deem required in our viewpoint" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.

In his speech, Head of Government of Georgia spoke about the economic context and component of job creation. As noted by the Prime Minister of Georgia, it is fully conceptualized within the Government that it is the main duty of the authorities to create an enabling environment in Georgia for the development of small, medium and large business infrastructure, leading to additional job creation.

Prime Minister of Georgia focused on the significance of additional job creation as a main challenge faced by the Government of Georgia. According to the Prime Minister of Georgia, it is the challenge that will need to be faced by the Government of Georgia in the years to come.

"We have long developed the open and transparent principles towards this end, which are predominantly based on the development of the private sector as a main driving force of economic growth and new jobs.

Government is consistently supporting additional investments to the country, both domestic and foreign investments. Also, Government is enabling the creation of a strong Georgian business, the one which should become the main driving force of economic growth and what is most important, it should turn into the locomotive of additional job creation. Such, already strong, solidly grounded business is a constituent of economy that predominantly drives economic growth, which will lead to the Government distributing social responsibility in a gradual manner, step by step. It is the main principle, which we are heading to in terms of economic growth. Of course, it is an additional component and direct duty of the Government to create a network of infrastructure, which is well known and all of you know it well that Government has been effectively investing billions of GEL in recent years" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.

In the opinion of the Head of Government of Georgia, one of the challenges that needs to be essentially addressed for economic growth is the imbalance witnessed at the labor market nowadays. Prime Minister of Georgia stressed that what is currently done by the Government for the reform of the education system is profoundly aimed at correction of the referred imbalance at the labor market.

"Everything done currently in the areas of general schooling and vocational education is aimed at the correction of the imbalance witnessed in the labor market. You may well be aware that we have quite cheap labor in Georgia, however we should also confess that we have a serious problem in terms of narrow specialization and professions that are in growing demand along with the economic growth and advancement" added the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of Government of Georgia focused on one of the most significant priorities of the Government - systemic reform in the education sector, which was launched by the Government of Georgia a year ago for human capital development.

"This reform is entirely spread across the general schooling nowadays and quite significant steps have been made towards vocational education. Nevertheless, we should treat our partners and citizens with a high degree of responsibility and explain to them that this is the reform that will not reap fruit in one, two or three years. It requires a systemic endeavor, structural and highly concentrated effort for years ahead and this is the direction, which we greatly hope to be supported by you" noted the Head of Government of Georgia.

Prime Minister of Georgia noted that in recent years Government succeeded in creating a quite decent legal framework in the economy of Georgia for interacting with various and large economies of the world.

"I have in mind the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that we have in our portfolio. Primarily, of course, these are with the EU and China, along with all the neighboring countries. Process is in full progress with India, Israel and other jurisdictions. Nevertheless, it should be noted herewith that unfortunately for various reasons our businesses and economy find it hard to capitalize on these concrete achievements and fail to translate the benefits of international trade-facilitation framework into actual benefits for regular citizens of Georgia or SMEs. It is clearly seen through the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), which we have with the EU. We need to confess that unfortunately we failed to have a significant breakthrough in recent years, especially in terms of businesses, private sector initiatives, economy and SMEs. Of course, we see problems here that are absolutely objective, e.g. level of standardization, compliance, competencies, quality control" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.

As noted by the Head of Government of Georgia, one of the most significant challenges is related to the road network and connectivity.

"We all understand it well that irrespective of the fact that we have significant achievements both in terms of institutional development and institutional approximation with EU. It also applies to democracy and institutional capacity building. It is hard for a country to operate when one has a comprehensive legal framework of interaction with EU, but has no land border with it. It is an additional challenge, which is our main task and we will address it albeit with your great support at this stage. We need support of European friends in this. We require the road network and connectivity to be advanced at least through the Black Sea towards EU" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Head of Government of Georgia elaborated on the main directions of open governance and noted that it is impossible to reach success in the development of the country without a strong and politically neutral public administration.

In the opinion of the Prime Minister of Georgia, bureaucracy in the country should be most neutral from politics and bear high degree of professionalism.

"It is the main challenge, which may hamper the fast development of public institutions in terms of open governance. Here we have significant success stories, though a lot still needs to be done" noted the Head of Government of Georgia.

According to the Prime Minister of Georgia, by institutional development of the country or various procedures, as well as by most reputable ratings, we score higher than many other countries, including those of Eastern Europe.

"We understand it very well that one of the most significant challenges of open governance and goal of our concentrated work in the coming years should be the fight against corruption and it will be so by all means. Government has taken significant steps already. They include the streamlined system of public procurement, reform of the tax and customs systems; public service delivery, asset declarations by civil servants and applicable amendments to the Law of Georgia on Civil Service. These initiatives are working quite efficiently already. Implementation in the majority of cases is completed. Nevertheless, we also understand it well that each of them need to be developed further. Considering the principle discussed here, we understand that our engagement in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) remains to be our priority for years to come" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.

According to the Head of Government of Georgia, it is important to routinely demonstrate progress and results of the reforms to partners as they are made step by step.

In the opinion of the Prime Minister of Georgia, plenty of more work needs to be done and support of strategic partners and friends of Georgia is most important in the process of reforms.

"We all understand it very well that a lot more work needs to be done. We are quite pragmatic towards work and understand it very well that until a desire matures within the EU for making its political decision, we may need years to reform the country, but main task for us is to make sure that our partners and colleagues witness the progress and results of reforms made step by step every single day and what is most important - our strategic partners and friends need to be by our side in the process of these reforms" noted the Prime Minister of Georgia.

Strategic dialogue by and between the donor countries and heads of development organizations, increased exchange of information on national priorities, current reforms and new initiatives were among the aims and goals of the Annual Donor Coordination Forum. It was chaired by Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia and held today at the Palace of Ceremonies.

Meeting engaged Government members, Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, MPs, diplomatic corps accredited in the country and representatives of donor agencies operating in Georgia.

Second part of the Forum was held in the round table format, which was led by Natia Mezvrishvili, Head of Government Administration. Discussions engaging Deputy Ministers, Heads of donor agencies and officials of the Government Administration were focused on the prospects of improved coordination of foreign aid. Also, series of coordination meetings on various topics were planned and specific timeline was defined. Event was co-chaired by Sabine Machl, UN Resident Coordinator in Georgia.

Prime Minister's Press Office