Giorgi Gakharia presented an Anti-crisis Economic Plan Print Version

2020-04-24

...

All the steps taken by the GoG are initially conditioned by caring for health and life, and then saving the economy, - said Giorgi Gakharia, the Prime Minister of Georgia at a meeting of the Anti-Corruption Economic Group within the Inter-Agency Coordination Council, where he presented an anti-crisis economic plan.

The head of GoG spoke about the steps taken by the GoG in the fight against Novel Coronavirus and noted that the crisis management process also has certain peculiarities, which must be taken into account.

Giorgi Gakharia expressed his gratitude towards those people who are at the forefront of fight against coronavirus outbreak and all the citizens who stay at home and follow the restrictions imposed under the state of emergency.

"For three months Georgia is facing a global epidemic that has changed our daily lifestyle. In dealing with this global challenge, the team of the GoG relies in the first place on the advice of professionals, as well as on coherent, consistent measures. This is one of the most important foundations for success. We all must understand that despite the difficulties and inconveniences that each of our citizens faces daily, there is no other way to deal with this problem, this fight, because today there is no scientifically justified recipe for fighting coronavirus other than protecting social distance, wearing masks, reducing mobility, etc. So, we were forced to take a number of rather uncomfortable steps that change our daily lives. That's why I want to thank the people who are at the forefront of the fight against the spread of the virus. I would also like to thank the people who stay at home and protect the conditions that are necessary to defeat this virus", said Giorgi Gakharia.

The Prime Minister noted that today the GoG is fighting on two main fronts - caring for the citizens' health and life, as well as saving economy and ensuring social welfare. So, all the steps taken by the GoG are motivated by the protection of health, life and further survival of the economy.

The head of the GoG thanked "Cartu" Foundation and Bidzina Ivanishvili for the contribution both to the process of fighting against Novel Coronavirus and the Special Fund. He also thanked all the people who provided financial assistance to the Fund.

"Thanks to each public servant and representative of the private sector, as well as each citizen, who provided financial assistance to a Special Fund established for fighting against Novel Coronavirus, which has already raised a considerable amount of money. I would like to express my special thanks to the "Cartu" Foundation and Bidzina Ivanishvili for his contribution to this fight, in terms of finances and, of course, his personal involvement in the management", said the Prime Minister.
According to the prime Minister, the GoG has 3 main areas of responsibility. These are overcoming the epidemic, ensuring the social care for the population and a rapid recovery of the economy. All the steps we have taken and will take in the future will be related to caring for these three main areas - said Giorgi Gakharia, the Prime Minister of Georgia at the meeting of the Anti-Corruption Economic Group within the Inter-Agency Coordination Council.

As the head of the GoG noted, the fight against the pandemic is divided into certain stages.

"The first stage was emergency assistance to both our citizens and entrepreneurs, and there's a rationale to that. Then we worked with our international partners and foundations to ensure that the losses suffered by our crisis budget were consistently replenished with the financial resources that were needed and are still in need, both in terms of defeating the virus, providing social assistance to our citizens and subsequently, saving of the economy. Currently, we've already got some results in this direction and are going to present them to the economic group and our citizens. Of course, there may be some topics here, which may be discussed later", said the Prime Minister.

According to him, this presentation is the result of joint work.
"I would like to emphasize the value of this economic group, representing all branches of GoG - the Parliament, the National Bank, the President, the Investment Council, as well as the GoG and, in general, almost all of us are here", said Giorgi Gakharia.

As estimated by the Prime Minister, when comparing the data of Georgia with other countries in terms of data on the fight against COVID 19, the numbers are quite promising, and the main argument for this is that the GoG has started taking appropriate measures quite early.
As the head of GoG noted, the Coordinating Council was created on 28 January, the country had its first infected on 26 February, and a state of emergency was declared on 21 March.

"The GoG created a Coordination Council on 28 January. However, the first infected was detected on 26 February. We met on a daily basis in the format of the Council and took the steps necessary to deal with the pandemic", said Giorgi Gakharia.

According to the Prime Minister, at the initial stage two main directions of the work of the Council have been revealed - caring for the health of citizens and saving the economy of Georgia.
"Two main front lines were immediately revealed, where we would have to fight - caring for health, saving the lives of citizens and saving the economy of Georgia. It was clear to us from the very first day, and since the pandemic became more and more global, it has become clear to everyone", said Giorgi Gakharia.

According to the Prime Minister, the first stage consisted of a quick assessment of the situation, the identification of the most critical points and a rapid assistance to these points.

"Our activities from 13 March to 1 April included quick decisions - on assisting the citizens in terms of utility bills that was made for 1.2 million citizens; We are talking about water, waste management and electricity bills; In addition, we have subsidized bills for the use of natural gas for more than 670,000 families and have allocated 150 million GEL from the budget from the first day of the crisis", said the Prime Minister.

Giorgi Gakharia also stressed that it was decided on an urgent basis that the state would insure 9 major food products against the risk of price spikes.
"Based on the very first assessment, the risk of rising prices for basic foodstuffs became clear, as the pandemic became more and more global, and states decided to close their markets, and especially restrict export of the most demanded primary food products. Consequently, the risk of price spikes became apparent and an immediate decision was made to insure by the state 9 major products against the risk of price spikes, which we managed to do. We have spent 15 million GEL to do it and signed contracts with major importer companies, on the basis of which they were insured against the risk of price spikes", said Giorgi Gakharia.

The Prime Minister noted that with the help of the state, citizens were provided with the opportunity to defer loan payments for the next three months, which was extremely important for individuals who, basically, lost their income.

"Till now, 600,000 citizens have already taken advantage of this concession. Of course, all this was done together with the banking sector. Accordingly, the involvement and partnership of the state, the GoG, the National Bank and the private banking sector was extremely important", said the Prime Minister.

According to Giorgi Gakharia, from the very first day it became clear that, first of all, the tourism business was in danger, and this was the worst result that the country's economy and this sector got.
"We immediately decided to postpone the payment of property and income taxes until 1 November. In total, 4,500 businesses have already taken advantage of this opportunity and the liabilities of 90 million GEL have been deferred. Now it is clear what the challenge of a global pandemic implies and how difficult is to make long-term forecasts", said the Prime Minister.
As explained by the head of the GoG, the state has also subsidized 80% of the interest rate of small hotels for six months.

"However, we all understand that this benefit is no longer relevant and sufficient, and the GoG is already looking for the ways to provide additional assistance to the tourism sector. This is the main specificity that accompanies this global pandemic - it is impossible to talk about a long-term forecast in a strict, academic manner", said Giorgi Gakharia.
The Prime Minister also spoke about infrastructure projects, for which the state has insured the construction materials against price spikes in the amount of 200 million GEL.

"As you know, infrastructure projects are one of the main driving forces for our country's economic growth, and they also face the risk of price spikes. The GoG has reviewed this issue and made a decision to insure the difference between the prices of infrastructure projects with the amount of 200 million GEL. It's very important both for the current projects and the projects under a tender, in order to maintain the country's economy and the jobs that are crucial for us, while talking about infrastructure projects", said the Prime Minister.
According to the head of the GoG, in the context of emergency assistance, it was also important to defer customs duties for our vehicle importers.

"We've made this decision quickly, it was a package of 50 million GEL and as of today, 38,000 importers have taken advantage of this concession. Also, in cooperation with the banking sector, we have decided to restructure loans for legal entities, out of which, as of today, 7,000 legal entities have already taken advantage of this offer. This is extremely important. These are the companies that have lost their daily income in a short period of time and absolutely unexpectedly", said the Prime Minister.

According to Giorgi Gakharia, those measures comprised a major and urgent assistance to the citizens and the sectors of the economy that suffered the first blow, including the tourism sector, which was provided by the GoG in a social and purposeful manner. According to him, the GoG has made efforts not to stop the infrastructure projects.

"Then we had a pause to assess the current situation with donors and get forecasts of the crisis budget, which showed that the country's economic growth will be -4%, and the budget will lose revenues of 1.8 billion GEL. Of course, we've quickly decided to reduce the current costs, and this saved about 300 million GEL. But it should be also taken into account that social and economic support components, as well as medical expenses for dealing with Covid-19 were added to the part of the budget expenditures, and therefore, it became clear that we lack 3.9 billion GEL to balance the budget. We have already had a plan of action to start working with both international partners and donors", said the Prime Minister.

According to Giorgi Gakharia, Georgia has enjoyed unprecedented international support and this is expressed in the fact that its strategic and international partners - the United States, the European Union, in addition to verbal support to the measures taken by the GoG, have offered to Georgia financial support packages. Today we are the first country who has agreed new programme options with the International Monetary Fund during the crisis.

"This work took a month and a half or two months, and now we can say that Georgia has got unprecedented international support, and this is expressed in the fact that its strategic and international partners - the United States, the European Union, in addition to verbal support to the measures taken by the GoG, have offered to Georgia financial support packages. Today we are the first country who has agreed new programme options with the International Monetary Fund during the crisis. This enables us to work more effectively with international donors. As a result of this work, the GoG has already received aid assistance of 1.5 billion US Dollars for the budget and solid guarantees that the Georgian private sector will have additional access to 1.5 billion US Dollars. If the GoG, economy and private sector need additional liquidity, we have a full guaranteed access to 3 billion US Dollars, which, as of today, is one of the best indicators in terms of swiftness and efficiency", said Giorgi Gakharia.

The head of the GoG spoke about a targeted social assistance for each citizen and noted that this is the care package that the GoG is currently offering to the citizens.

"This is the minimum that the GoG can offer to every citizen today, from the very limited resources of our economy. But I would like to point out that on the other hand, this will obligate us to be absolutely fair and efficient and fully aware that under this crisis and virus-fighting conditions it was crucial for us to assist the maximum number of social layers of our country through a variety of ways", said Giorgi Gakharia.
As of today, a targeted social assistance scheme for each citizen looks as follows:

"All hired employees who officially worked and lost their jobs, income during the crisis after the declaration of the state of emergency and cannot receive their salaries, will receive assistance from the state in the amount of 1200 GEL over a period of six months. This means that these people will receive 200 GEL per month. The sustainability of this assistance was very important for us. As of today's data, at least 350,000 citizens of Georgia will be able to receive assistance with the funds available, which amounts to 460,000,000 GEL for the budget. The main goal of this event is a six-month financial support to people who have lost their jobs, with the minimum support and assistance within our capabilities", said Giorgi Gakharia.

According to the head of the GoG, as of today, at least 350,000 citizens of Georgia will be assisted, which amounts to 460,000,000 GEL for the budget.
In addition, all persons who will retain their jobs, and all the companies that will retain jobs will receive a full subsidy of salary payment of up to 750 GEL for the period of six months in terms of income tax payments. According to the Prime Minister, the budget for this assistance is 250 million GEL.
"In addition, the same kind of subsidy will be received for the salary of 750 GEL for all retained jobs and remuneration will be up to 1500 GEL. In fact, in this way we are assisting both the citizens of Georgia to retain their jobs salaries and the entrepreneurs to retain the jobs. The budget of this event is 250 million GEL", said Giorgi Gakharia.

According to the Prime Minister, there are also quite serious social groups and layers of citizens who were employed in the informal sector, or considered themselves self-employed. So, social assistance services will be involved in the identification of such people.
"Of course, it is extremely difficult for the state to identify them, because they are not registered in any official database, but the state undertakes to provide such people with a one-time assistance of 300 GEL after they are identified by the social assistance services, based on a maximum simplified way of identification. An approximate budget of this measure will be 75 million GEL", said Giorgi Gakharia.
In addition, socially vulnerable citizens will receive an additional 600 GEL from the state for the period of six months.

"Our society has a socially complex structure. There are a large number of socially vulnerable citizens and the state caccon not leave each of these groups without attention and care. The state already helps those families whose social rating score is below 65,000 points. But families with a social rating score between 65,000 and 100,000 were left without attention. We will help such families provided they have many children and minors. However, in conditions of economic hardship, we've decided to help such families in the amount of 600 GEL for six months. In this case approximately, 70,000 families - 190,000 citizens of Georgia will benefit. In addition, families whose social rating score is between 0 and 100,000 points and have 3 or more children under the age of 16, which means large families, will also be assisted by the state in the amount of 600 GEL for six months. Today, the number of such families in Georgia is 21,000 and includes 130,000 citizens", said Giorgi Gakharia.

According to the head of GoG, this is a very important measure, because against the background of economic challenges and economic crises, large families are one of the most vulnerable groups and in any case, are in need of financial assistance from the state.
"At the same time, people with severe disabilities and children with disabilities will also benefit from the state's assistance in the amount of 600 GEL for six months, and as of today, we have 40,000 such citizens in Georgia. The amount of this measure will be 25 million GEL", said the Prime Minister.
According to the head of GoG, it has been also decided that the pensions of all pensioners will be increased by not less than the rate of inflation, which will actually insure pensioners against the increase in prices in the form of pensions.

"Crisis like the global pandemic cannot be overcome in a month or two months, even in a year or two years. We will have to deal with the consequences of the global pandemic for years, so we've decided to take care of it today and agree with our international partners on certain mechanisms of caring for our most vulnerable groups and our pensioners, which will be strengthened at the legislative level. This is crucially important in terms of maintaining social sustainability. At the same time, pensioners over the age of 70, in addition to an increase in the rate of inflation, will have the opportunity to increase their pension by 80% of economic growth. In fact, this means that from 2021, the pension will be increased by at least 20 GEL for all pensioners, and by 25 GEL for those over 70. This is the minimum that insures all pensioners against the risk of inflation. This is of great crucial importance, as we have a large social group of pensioners, and this is very important in terms of social sustainability. Approximately 410,000 pensioners of Georgia will benefit," said the Prime Minister.

According to Giorgi Gakharia, it is also planned to review the system of social assistance and scoring at the post-crisis management stage.
"Once we embark on a post-crisis management phase and overcome the epidemiological challenges, we must return to the social assistance system and take some steps to make the criteria for scoring and financial assistance more targeted, objective and effective. This is a necessary step for the development and social sustainability of our country", said the Prime Minister.
In addition, for the assistance of entrepreneurs, economy and business - an automatic VAT refund mechanism will be activated and the business will receive 600 million GEL, while commercial banks will be provided with a long-term resource of 600 million GEL. Additional 500 million GEL will be allocated to support business.

"Along with assisting the citizens, we need to take care of entrepreneurs. The structure of our country's economy is arranged in such a way that the private sector must create and it creates jobs. Today we are talking about maintenance of these jobs, so in terms of assisting entrepreneurs, the economy and business in times of crisis, we have made some important decisions that are crucial for companies and entrepreneurs. An automatic VAT refund mechanism will be implemented, which means that as soon as an entrepreneur has an excess on his/her personal account, he/she will automatically be refunded VAT, without any demand. In addition, this year additional 600 million GEL will be returned from the budget in the form of VAT during one year. These two events jointly are crucial for companies and entrepreneurs in maintaining liquidity", said the Prime Minister.

According to the Prime Minister, a long-term resource of 600 million GEL will be provided to commercial banks, and 500 million GEL will be additionally allocated to support business.

"Actually, it means that we extend a GEL resource for banks and a relatively cheap resource of GEL will be available for the banks, which, of course, will be transferred primarily to the economy. In addition, 500 million GEL will be allocated to support business in the target directions: a credit - guarantee scheme with the budget of 300 million GEL. This is a very important tool to help entrepreneurs. The main direction and target groups will be small and medium entrepreneurs, and with this tool we will be able to strengthen and issue a credit portfolio of 2 billion GEL, which means that the state will guarantee 90% of loans. This is extremely important, especially for entrepreneurs who have implemented certain projects and will take steps under this crisis to create new directions. This applies to new start-ups. However, the companies that have old loans, the state will assist with 30% of the guarantee in the form of restructuring", said Giorgi Gakharia.

At the same time, the period of co-financing of loans and leasing, types of activities and funding for circulating assets is increasing within the framework of the state programme "Produce in Georgia". The mechanism of interest co-financing will be changed, and the minimum threshold for loans will be reduced as well.

"The state programme "Produce in Georgia" is one of the most successful programme to support private entrepreneurs and it was crucial in addition to supporting active projects, which of course face real problems against the background of common economic challenges, to encourage the people who have launched some ready projects or today have the possibility of launching new projects. If the co-financing period for loans and leasing was 24 months, it will be 36 months. We just help entrepreneurs who up to this moment work with these programmes. In addition, the mechanism of interest co-financing will be changed and the state's participation in interest financing, as well as the types of activities will be increased. We've worked for a while to increase the targeting of the programme "Produce in Georgia". Now we realize that there is another time and we must help everyone who needs help from the state. At the same time, the minimum threshold for loans / leasing will be reduced and funding for circulating assets will be increased. These are the tools through which the state simplifies access to resources for beneficiaries of the programme "Produce in Georgia" or companies, which now decide to use the programme", said the Prime Minister.
According to the head of the GoG, one of the most important components is the care for agriculture.
In particular, the state will allocate a grant of 30,000 GEL for a villager who decides to start an elementary small business.

The state started a micro grant system a few years ago and it was one of the most successful programmes. According to Giorgi Gakharia, the programme started from 5000 GEL, then became 15 000 GEL, 20 000 GEL and today the GoG made a decision and raised this limit to 30 000 GEL.

"Caring for agriculture is one of the most important components, which is even more important today. Our citizens, as well as our farmers understand it because their function and role is clearly visible today, even in meeting the demand for basic foodstuffs in the country, while all our neighbours are no longer protecting the market in a protectionist manner, but are rather protecting export of the products produced in their country. Therefore, it is extremely important for us to develop local production in order to meet local demand. Here the most important thing is a function of agriculture. The state started a micro grant system a few years ago and it was one of the most successful programmes. It started from 5,000 GEL, then amounted to 15,000 GEL and 20,000 GEL. Today, we've decided to increase this limit to 30,000 GEL and the portfolio to 40,000,000 GEL. This is a real help to a rural person who decides to start an elementary small business. We will help him/her with a grant, financial resources in order to take personal responsibility and then create additional jobs", said Giorgi Gakharia.

In addition, the state will allocate 50,000,000 GEL to finance annual crops.
According to the head of the GoG, 5,000 farmers will be able to use agro-credits.

"Today, the production of primary foodstuffs is becoming more and more important in the field of agriculture, which just implies the creation of a food base. Therefore, this decision was made and at the initiative of the Ministry of Agriculture, for this purpose the state allocated 50,000,000 GEL. Approximately, 5,000 farmers will be able to use this product. This is very important, because annual crops have a rapid economic effect, but at the same time contain high economic risks. For this reason, the state will do its best to support and help farmers", said Giorgi Gakharia.

As estimated by the head of GoG, the development of agriculture is impossible without a final solution of the problem related to a systematic land registration.
"Together with the Ministry of Justice, we have decided to systematically register 1.2 million hectares of land over a period of three years. As of today, this is the resource of land that is left without systemic registration and after that, in Georgia the problem of systematic land registration will finally be solved and we will do our best to make it happen as soon as possible. We all understand the importance of this measure in order to be able to use both by farmers and financial institutions one of the most important resources of the country - land as efficiently as possible", said the Prime Minister.

In addition, amelioration debts will be written off for all individuals and legal entities.

"In addition, in order to support amelioration activities, we have decided to cancel and write off the amelioration debts for all individuals and legal entities, and release individuals and legal entities from amelioration fees in 2020", said Giorgi Gakharia.

In total, the country will spend 3 billion 500 million GEL for crisis management.
"Our first task was to provide urgent assistance to our citizens, then work with our partners, donor organisations and get financial resources, and later, develop a social assistance package for individuals, our entrepreneurs and the economy. In simple words, our first urgent steps were to take care of citizens and the tourism sector. The next step is to take care of citizens and the economy through providing them with a targeted social support and, of course, including the health sector, for which 350 million GEL has been allocated for emergency spending and fighting against the pandemic. The country will spend 3.5 billion GEL for crisis management, of which 1,35 billion GEL will account for a targeted financial support to citizens, 2,110 billion GEL - for the support to the economy and entrepreneurs, and 350 million GEL - for the health care of each of our citizens", said Giorgi Gakharia.

As estimated by the head of the GoG, crisis management has faced several major challenges - a rapid spread of the pandemic, which means taking care of the health and life of citizens and then, saving the economy.

"There are two fronts - caring of health and saving the economy. In the long run, winning on any separate front makes no sense for the development of the country. Everyone must fully understand that we must win in both directions. Therefore, the balance that we have to find when we are taking quite strict measures for citizens, companies, entrepreneurs, must be compensated with the risks that our healthcare system was facing. This is the main reality that we needed to take into account, and although, we began to take similar measures much earlier, this does not allow us to relax. We must also take steps to open up the economy in a timely manner so that when the world overcomes the pandemic and a global competition between the economies of the countries will start, Georgia must be ready for this", said Giorgi Gakharia.
The Prime Minister also spoke about the impact of the global pandemic on daily behaviour, noting that for some time protection of basic hygiene, wearing of masks and gloves will become a part of our daily life.

"The pandemic has changed our lives and our daily behaviour so that certain restrictions and measures will remain with us for years, and it will be impossible to talk about opening up the economy and restoring the economy without protection of these rules. These rules are very simple and global, these are not the rules that we should follow and protect only in Georgia. Social distancing according to established rules is necessary and seems to be necessary for a long time in our lives. I would like to repeat once again that the biggest challenge for the Coronavirus is that the world has not yet found a way to globally fight against the virus, except for social distancing, reducing mobility, wearing masks, etc. This is the biggest challenge we will all have to face. Wearing masks, gloves and protecting basic hygiene in public places will become a part of our daily lives", said Giorgi Gakharia.

As the Prime Minister noted, it is extremely important to follow the rules established by the Ministry of Health for legal entities.

"All entrepreneurs, all companies should take into account that it will be impossible to resume and continue activities in the long run, without taking the necessary measures and without complying with the requirements of our epidemiologists and doctors. Where possible, the forms of remote work must be used as much as possible both in the private and public sectors in order to minimize physical contact. These are the basic rules without observing of which we will not be able to talk about opening any economy or reducing restrictions. Therefore, this is the ground based on which we can take further steps", said Giorgi Gakharia.
As for the plan of lifting the restrictions, the head of the GoG noted that this is directly related to the performance quality of the recommendations issued by public health specialists.

"If we lift some restrictions today, it does not mean that we will not return to these restrictions tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. Whether we will be able to open up economic activities and embark on the next stage of lifting the restrictions, is directly related to how well we follow the rules and conditions established by the doctors. Restrictions on economic activity will be lifted gradually and the interval between the stages of lifting restrictions will be two weeks. Two weeks is a period that shows us the epidemiological results of the first phase of lifting restrictions: whether the level is maintained, the epidemiological situation worsens, or vice versa. Therefore, two weeks will become an interval for the transition from one stage to another one", said Giorgi Gakharia.

According to the Prime Minister, the transition from one stage to the next stage will be agreed with the epidemiologists.

"All companies must take it into account. When certain activities are allowed, it does not mean that they should be carried out as they were before the epidemic. Today there are other demands, different realities and everyone should understand that our social responsibility is not only to take care of the health of our employees, but also of the society, because as we know, the epidemic is caused by a simple transmission", said Giorgi Gakharia.
The first phase of lifting restrictions and opening the economy will start on Monday, 27 April.
This means that from 27 April it will be fully permitted transportation by passenger cars, taxis, as well as online shopping (wholesale and retail), and delivery services for all types of products and operation of open agrarian markets.

"All this applies to companies, institutions and facilities that comply with the rules established by the Ministry of Healthcare. In this case, all of these directions work. The Ministry of Healthcare has absolutely clear protocols stating that, for example, a taxi driver must wear a mask. Open agrarian markets have special, epidemic control mechanisms that must be followed. If these conditions are met, these directions will be opened and allowed to operate from Monday", said the Prime Minister.

The second stage, according to the assessment of the epidemiological situation, will start in two weeks where the restrictions on construction are lifted.
"It will be construction, activities related to the supervision of construction, production of construction materials, car washes and car services in full, as well as repair of computers, personal and household goods and operation of recreational zones", said Giorgi Gakharia.
The Prime Minister stressed that the first, second and third stages are the activities that are mainly related to the open space.

At the third stage, trade restrictions will be lifted. We are talking about retail and wholesale shops, except for shopping malls, which have separate street-side entrances, as well as all types of open markets, all types of production and publishing activities.
At the 4th stage, lifting of restrictions will apply to shopping malls, open-air restaurants and food facilities, all types of financial services, beauty salons and aesthetic medicine centres. However, only open-air restaurants and food facilities may provide on-site services.

At the 5th stage, lifting of restrictions will apply to closed-type markets and fairs, as well as to all types of restaurants and food facilities, including on-site services.

The 6th stage of the restrictions will apply to entertainment, sports and recreation facilities, creative activities, gambling businesses, hotels and education institutions.

Restrictions on all other activities in non-remote mode will also be lifted.
"There are no big blocks like municipal transport and planned medical care. These are activities that are directly related to the geography and speed of the spread of the epidemic and therefore, cannot be include into any stage of lifting restrictions", said Giorgi Gakharia.
At the end of the presentation, the Prime Minister summed up the steps taken by the GoG.

"From the very first day of the epidemic, we've provided every citizen with a minimum necessary financial assistance, covering utility bills - electricity, gas, and water bills. We've helped companies both in terms of deferral of loans and the most affected sector of tourism. We've helped individuals with a loan deferral component for the period of three months. It was the help that allowed shocked citizens to just have some time to figure out what was going on, how their daily lives had changed. This also applies to the state. The state was in the same situation as well", said the Prime Minister.
According to Giorgi Gakharia, after that it became possible to more or less assess the complexity and scale of the problem and the GoG began to actively work with international partners and donors.

"As a result, we were able to attract 3 billion US Dollars. This allowed us to responsibly approach the portfolio of targeted social assistance that we've presented today. We do not accept populist liabilities in the form of vain promises, but welcome absolutely responsible ones that the state may fulfil. It is crucial for everyone to know that we have to spend every lari extremely tightly because our economy is quite weak and no one is ready today to give us an accurate estimate of the end of this crisis, challenge, and the pandemic. This was the second stage and today, we are helping all the people who lost their jobs in the amount of 1200 GEL. We help all people whose social rating score is between 65,000 and 100,000 in the amount of 600 GEL for six months. We also help large families with 600 GEL. We also help people with disabilities in the amount of 600 GEL. People who were employed in the informal sector and could easily justify that they have lost income in any way, will be provided with a one-time assistance of 300 GEL. Of course, today we will make a decision and make a change at the legislative level that the pension will increase every year according to the inflation rate, and for pensioners over 70 - by 80% of real economic growth", said Giorgi Gakharia.

According to the head of the GoG, all these steps are aimed at taking care of persons, citizens.
"Regarding entrepreneurs and jobs, here we have made decisions that will be effective today and in the crisis to save companies and save jobs. The post-crisis economic revival plan is what we will have to work on together and what will directly depend on how we implement the plan to open the economy together with our citizens. All the comparative successes we have currently succeeded in the fight against the virus will be in vain if further steps to be taken are not effective and consistent. If we do not follow the rules of social distancing, reducing mobility, which we need to take into account every day, it will be simply difficult for the country to move to the stage of economic recovery, which is crucially important in terms of future global competition", said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister wished good health to every citizen of Georgia.

"I would like to thank all the people who are at the forefront of fight, and especially all the citizens who stayed at home and carefully, no matter how difficult it is, observed all the restrictions necessary to care for the health of each of our citizens, our elderly and parents, and revive our economy", said the Prime Minister.

Press Service of the Government Administration