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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Georgia: Finance Minister Khutsishvili discusses 2023 draft budget and other issues 

Tbilisi: Lasha Khutsishvili, the Finance Minister of Georgia, in his speech, discussed the 2023 budget draft and touched on several. The draft budget had proposed a 10% hike in salaries, and adjustments regarding the increments were discussed.

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Tbilisi: Lasha Khutsishvili, the Finance Minister of Georgia, in his speech, discussed the 2023 budget draft and touched on several. The draft budget had proposed a 10% hike in salaries, and adjustments regarding the increments were discussed.

The Finance Minister stated that – “We think we have very clearly stated and presented a strategy on how salaries will be adjusted in the public sector in the coming years. We have publicly announced, and we are sticking to this promise in the coming years that wage increases in the public sector will continue. This year, salaries have increased by 10%. Next year is also expected to see a 10% increase, excluding the Security Service, Defence and Home Affairs ministries, where we have a 20% increase.

 Accordingly, both in the budget and in the post-budget bills, anyone interested in this topic can learn not only the numbers but also the principles of how salaries will be adjusted in the public sector,” the financier said. 

He also answered several questions posed by the opposition – “We have heard a lot of opposing positions. On the one hand, for example, we’re asking for funding for water projects to be increased three, four, five times because it’s needed.

On the other hand, we say lower taxes to keep inflation down. With tax cuts, an additional two to three billion won’t be found in the budget for the projects you’ll claim funding. “As I have already reported, regarding water projects, the state has a pretty well-stated strategy, and according to this strategy, funding will continue in the current and future years,” said Lasha Khutsishvili.

The Finance Minister also talked about economic growth indicators and urged opponents to refrain from manipulating the numbers.

“We have heard a lot of manipulation with numbers – when we want to change the parameters to dollar when we want to GEL, which is natural, is wrong.” It’s very easy to assume only real growth without nominal growth for economic growth. In 2022, the economy will decrease by 6.8% due to the pandemic. 

The economy will grow by 10.5%. The economy in 2021 was about 3% higher in real gains than it was in 2019 – or there was a full recovery and grew 3% higher than it was in 2019. In three quarters of this year, we have economic growth of 10.2%. This is the real indicator of economic growth, which is fixed in the country and therefore, there is no need to manipulate the numbers in order to distort these indicators, – said Khutsishvili.

He also touched on the issue of salaries of non-state employees, noting that a large portion of them come from the health and education sectors. Specifically: on ambulance and village doctors, on mandates, as well as on employees with specific duties in the Ministry of Environment and Agriculture.

“This is the main portion of the non-state employees who receive their salaries from the state budget. Therefore, you can’t tell me about any of them that they don’t need to be funded. 

Conversely, the growth that we have announced in terms of salary hikes in the public sector will, of course, apply to them too. Generally, I can tell you that the proposed state budget draft answers basically two directions. Naturally, the priorities we have for infrastructure and other areas are valid and will continue, but next year’s budget specifically addresses two core priorities – social direction and defence and security. There is significant growth in both directions and, of course, caused by the environment in which our country finds itself. 

Accordingly, this budget answers all the challenges that the country faces today”, – said Lasha Khutsishvili.

The Finance Minister said the budget would be more precise in growth for the third submission after the current year’s parameters are updated.

“We will consider the notes and issues raised in the process of discussion within the macroeconomic framework presented in the 2023 budget,” stated Finance Minister.

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