Unprecedented move by Cartu Group to nullify debts for 600 000 Georgian citizens
21 November, 2018
Unprecedented move by Cartu Group to nullify debts for 600 000 Georgian citizens
The Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze announced on the 19th of November that the bank debt of over 600,000 Georgian citizens, including those on a so-called ‘Black List’ will be annulled. The decision was made by the Georgian authorities just nine days before the second round of the presidential elections.

The process of annulment of the loans will start on December 15 and continue until December 31. In this period a total of 1.5 billion GEL debts will be nullified.
Bakhtadze thanked the Cartu Foundation, a charity fund established and financed by the Georgian tycoon, former Prime Minister and the present chairman of the ruling party Georgian Dream Bidzina Ivanishvili for its support in covering the amount. He hopes the initiative will make the economy more sustainable and the banking sector healthier in Georgia.
bidzina_ivanishvili_cartu
Bidzina Ivanishvili and Cartu Bank

Mamuka Bakhtadze says that of the 600,000 people who will benefit from the offer, about 150,000 are socially vulnerable individuals and that tens of thousands of people who have disabilities cannot pay off small bank loans. Most debtors do not owe more than 2,000 lari. Only those who owe less than this sum will have their debts written off. However, the minister of Finance of Georgia Ivane Machavariani later reported that not all financial institutions have agreed to the idea. For example, Vivus, one of the largest online loan companies, refused to participate in the programme. Debts undertaken with this company will not be cleared.

Critics have assessed the initiative as an attempt to buy votes ahead of a runoff in next week’s presidential election and that the prosecutor’s office should address this issue. The program manager of Transparency International Georgia Levan Natroshvili stated that according to the Georgian legislation, such actions are unacceptable during the election period and a significant number of people whose debts are going to be annulled may influence the results of the presidential election. Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) was established on 7 May 2000 as a local non-governmental organization committed to combating corruption in Georgia through the promotion of transparency and accountability.

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