Charge-free communal payments
07 October, 2010
Charge-free communal payments

Georgian consumers can pay their communal service bills free of charge starting October 1, 2010 at 25 outlets of Liberty Bank, one of the leading Georgian banks. Liberty Bank revoked commission fees fixed for handling with communal bills’ transaction in line with the governmental initiative aimed to relieve population of unfair and redundant outlays.
In mid-September of 2010 Georgian parliament found unfair that banks charge Georgian population by commission fee when they handle with the communal-service bill’s clearance transactions [ for

electricity, gas, water and sanitary service].
Each family spends at averagely GEL 2.50 per month on banking commission fees, Zurab Melikishvili, General Secretary of ruling parliamentary team and a Head of Finance and Budget Committee, accentuated on September 14, 2010. He stressed that charging consumers by banking payment during clearance communal bills is an unfair practice and equals to picking-pockets in fact. Therefore he came with an initiative to abolish the redundant banking fee and asked National Bank of Georgia (NBG) to regulate the issue.


“It is a strange confusion and picking pockets [of consumers] to put it in stronger terms. Anyway, whatever the assessment we make it is unfair treatment when any of our citizen when paying bills for electricity or gas at banks is demanded to pay 50 tetri above the bills,” Melikishvili elaborated during the parliamentary session on September 14, 2010.
The point is that communal service provider companies including electricity, gas, water, and sanitary service abolished their bill-payment service centers in Tbilisi where consumer could clear bills without commissions. Service centers in regions are still in operation and provide with free of charge service. But in the capital commercial banks took over the responsibility of bill-clearance procedures fixing from 50 tetri to GEL 1 per transaction. Out of five biggest leading Georgian banks only ProCredit Bank supplies with free of charge bill-clearance service. Consumers also can pay via special terminals installed at supermarkets and marketplaces but they also charge payers at approximately 70 tetri to GEL 1-2 – much more than banks. Banks have no alternative in fact. Therefore they must be regulated lest to misuse with their privileged position and NBG is responsible for regulation this issue, Levan Surguladze, Head of Caucasus Financial Service (CFS), believes.
“It is not fair when consumer who pays due liabilities for communal service has to pay extra payment to banks, and when a consumers pays GEL 7 for communal service for example and is charged by additional  50 tetri to GEL 1  it is a high charge, specifically for pensioners [and other socially vulnerable citizens] it is very high. Consumer is not responsible for that, this commission fees should be either revoked or diminished. Or let communal service provider companies provide with free of charge service centers. Why did they revoke them? Companies are responsible to clear this issue with banks. Central banks of developed countries fix cap limits on such commission fees to prevent banks [that have no alternative in fact] to misuse by their privileged position. And NBG has to solve the issue, it should find due preventive levers to it,” Surguladze explained to Georgian Journal.


Georgian central bank fixes no cap limits to banks at the moment and neither discusses adoption of cap-limits in the near future. It found solution to the problem in two days after Melikishvili trumpeted his initiative.
Giorgi Kadagidze, President of the NBG, promised to find due solution to the problem [acceptable to all interested sides] after meeting with banks and communal service companies. He hinted however that relationship with “private law entities” must be carefully tended. Kadagidze kept his promise and after two-day consultations with Georgian banks Liberty Bank turned out willing to revoke the questioned commission in 25 Tbilisi-based outlets.
Liberty Bank runs the most expansive network of outlets across the country and enjoys exclusive right of pensions and other state allowance delivery throughout Georgia. However it revoked the commission charge on communal service bill-clearance transactions only in 25 offices in Tbilisi, the remainder outlets maintain the questioned charge. These 25 Liberty Bank outlets are chosen so as to make available free of charge service in all parts of the capital. To make consumer aware of their location addresses of 25 outlets will be put on the bill-paper. Liberty Bank announced the launch of the free-of-charge service on October 1st, 2010.


Other banks as well as other service centers of Liberty Bank will also provide by communal bill clearance transaction-related service but maintain charges. Aleksandre Khetaguri, Energy Minister of Georgia, believes 25 outlets are quite sufficient to insure free-of-charge service to the entire Tbilisi population. He reminded that Telasi, Tbilisi electricity distribution company, ran just 21 service centers before shutting them down and it perfectly managed with bill-clearance procedures.
According to Zurab Gvasalia, President of Association of Georgian Banks, other banks also had some proposals to solve the problem but the Liberty Banks’ initiative shadowed all of them.
“Other banks can also implement communal bill-clearance transactions without charge,” Gvasalia underlined. “Nobody hampers them to do so.”


Melikishvili seemed absolutely happy over the Liberty Bank’s decision. He thinks that since consumer is exempted of banking charges at 25 Tbilisi-based service centers the problem very likely is solved.

Print
Other Stories
Georgian citizens are granted the right to work in France
The French Embassy in Georgia made remarks on granting Georgian citizens the right to work in France
The New York Times: Bitcoin declines but Georgia still bet on it
The New York Times has recently published an article about reasons, challenges and causes of generating Bitcoin in the former Soviet country Georgia.
EU to allocate € 13 billion for Eastern Partnership countries, including Georgia
The European Union together with the World Bank plans to allocate investment worth € 13 billion for infrastructure projects in the Eastern Partnership countries.
Anaklia Port and its importance for Georgia
In 2016, Anaklia Development Consortium was authorized to launch the construction of Anaklia Port.
Cryptocurrency mining threatens electrical network in Abkhazia
In the breakaway region of Akbhazia rampant cryptocurrency mining is threatening the shaky electrical network, reports an article of the news portal EuroNet.
Caucasus Wine University to be opened in Gurjaani
In the Kakheti region a new viticulture campus of the Caucasus University is in the process of planning.
Photos describing life of the poorest in Georgia
Fight with poverty should be among top priorities of every government in every country.
Training farmers to rescue the organic hazelnut production in Georgia
Even drizzling rain and unpleasant gusts of wind can’t prevent the farmers from coming and participating in the agricultural training.
Bleak times for organic farmers in Georgia – but there is hope
Organic hazelnut production is a delicate plant in Georgia that has emerged just a couple of years ago. Various pests, among them the Asian stink bug Parosana, trouble hazelnut farmers and menace their livelihood – even before their businesses could really take off.
Hybrid car imports are going through the roof in Georgia
Thanks to their fuel economy, the popularity of hybrid cars is increasing in Georgia, where fuel affordability is low and prices for fuel are unstable.
The New Year offer from MAQRO Construction - Apartments with unbelievable discounts and the parking spaces for FREE!
Location, green yard, spaces for various needs, experience of the construction company and parking space are the main important criteria for potential buyers of apartments.
Interview with the co-founder of Kiwi Vegan Café – the first vegan place in Tbilisi
Behind the Kiwi Vegan Café stands a group of activists who wants to raise Georgian’s awareness for animal rights and welfare.
Biblusi opens first shop for tourists - Georgian
The largest book shop in Georgia Biblusi opens the first shop specially designated to the needs and interests of tourists and named it Georgian.
Georgia improves by five ranks in the Prosperity Index
In the overall Prosperity Index rankings, Georgia has climbed by 5 positions from 85 to 80 when compared to last year. As such, Georgia is the best performing country in the CIS zone.
The future is bright for electric cars in Georgia
The numerous hybrid cars in the streets of Tbilisi cannot be overlooked. Entrepreneur Sulkhan Gvalia calls them “pagers”, referring to the predecessor of mobile phones.
Georgia’s fight against the big tiny enemy – Asian Parosana
It’s a tiny creature, but the harm it did to the Georgian agriculture sector was and still is immense.
New cable route: from Kobi to Gudauri in 15 minutes
On the 15th of December, cable transport is scheduled to be opened connecting Kobi and Gudauri.
Tourist boom in Gudauri – majority of hotels are booked by foreigners
Gudauri is among the most popular winter resorts in Georgia.
Medical tourism increases in Georgia
In the last 9 months, Georgia was visited by 19 500 foreigners for medical and recovery purposes.
Doing business in Georgia has become easier than in America
According to the Doing Business 2019 report published by the World Bank, Georgia ranked 6th among 190 countries in terms of simplicity of doing business. This was an improvement over two ranks compared to last year.
Problems that foreigners frequently face in Georgia
The importance of Georgia as a tourism hub is growing year after year.
Tbilisi TV Broadcasting Tower – Better than the Eiffel Tower?
It is planned to renovate the Tbilisi TV Broadcasting Tower, one of the landmarks in the capital.
Georgian Fusion Menu by The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi
5,895,914 international visitors have visited Georgia between January and August of 2018. Compared to the previous year the number has increased by 12.2 per cent.
Advertising of gambling and lucrative games may become banned in Georgia
Advertising of gambling and lucrative games may become banned in Georgia. Those who violate the new rule would be fined GEL 10 000.
Lebanese café-lounge Beirut opens in Tbilisi
What is necessary to organize an unforgettable event? – Fun, emotions, lots of surprises, good music and delicious menu.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
21.02.2019
22.02.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6574
2.6570
EUR
1
EUR
3.0146
3.0128
GBP
1
GBP
3.4629
3.4714
RUB
100
RUB
4.0421
4.0560
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.6570
EUR
1
EUR
3.0128
GBP
1
GBP
3.4714
RUB
100
RUB
4.0560