Half Billion at Disposal of New Government
11 October, 2012
Half Billion at Disposal of New Government

Only half billion out of much trumpeted GEL 2 billion allegedly accrued in the state coffer is available for the new government to finance the budgetary obligations. The new government finds the sum sufficient to meet the year-end without problems. Incognito sources claim the ex-government scrapes pockets of state enterprises to make figures on the paper flow in cash. 

It is an open secret that the ex-ruling party of National Movement has been misusing the state budget to finance its campaigns

for the elections of parliamentary, presidential or self-governance bodies. Non-governmental watch-dogs have been calling on National Movement to stop using administrative resources to this end but to no avail. And this past parliamentary elections was no exception. As far as this time Nationals’ had to compete political coalition of Georgian Dream founded [and perhaps funded] by a billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili, now a candidate for premiership, there was an expectation that the state purse would be completely empty in the post-election period. The delayed pensions somewhat fueled this presumption.

To disperse rumors and demonstrate that the state coffer is as affluent as it has never been Vano Merabishvili, the incumbent Prime Minister of Georgia with roots in National Movement, summoned Aleko Khetaguri, Minister of Finances of Georgia, at the state chancellery on October 8, 2012 to report to the country that GEL 2 billion is accrued at the state accounts that enables the new government to meet all the pre-election promises given to the electorate. The meeting was held behind closed doors but broadcasted on TV channels so as to impress audience by disclosing details of the record-high financial resources of the country. However not a single journalist was able to give questions to the speakers to elaborate details of the reported statistics.

According to Khetaguri, the volume of sums accrued at the state accounts as of September 2012 reached GEL 2 billion, out of which GEL 920 million is in the state treasury, GEL 200 million - on the accounts of self-governance units, GEL 320 million - on the accounts of public law entities, and GEL 587 million is accrued on the deposits of the state enterprises.

Khetaguri accentuated that Georgia also has international reserves at its disposal the volume of which exceeded USD 2.9 billion as of September 2012 according to the statistics of Georgian central bank. Sources close with the affair say there is no cash money in the state coffer in fact and government just does its best to  scrape pockets of the state enterprises and “encash” their movable property like car parks to channel due cash money supply in the state budget.

“It is impossible to a person outside government to say how much is really accrued in the state budget and how the budgetary expenditures met the timelines defined by the main fiscal document of the country, these data are available only to the finance ministry at the moment,” Nodar Chichinadze, President of Association of Young Financiers and Businessmen, said to Georgian Journal.

Out of the single mandated bodies that have an access to the budgetary paper-work at the moment is the team of Georgian Dream, the winning party, responsible for financial issues. They have just started delving in papers together with the finance ministry and cannot speak on full details whether or not budgetary expenses met scheduled timelines or if there is any blemish in spending. But what they can say for sure is that only half billion is available out of the trumpeted GEL 2 billion in fact.

According to Davit Onoprishvili, a candidate for the post of the Head of Finance and Budgetary Committee at Parliament, the money accrued at accounts of the self-governance units, public law entities and the deposits of the state enterprises cannot be used for financing ongoing operational expenses [like financing pensions] for they are transferred money. What the state coffer includes in cash is GEL 920 million in the state treasury but only GEL 500 million out of this figure is accumulated in the state budget.

“USD 116 thousand out of this half billion is made up by the remnants deducted from foreign currency and the remaining part makes around GEL 300-350 million that is a rather small amount but incomes inflow every day and we hope that revenue service will continue to collect taxes in smooth regime and if there will be no unforeseen expenses, most probably we will meet all budgetary obligations by the end of this year,” Onoprishvili elaborated to GJ.

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