Elene Khoshtaria: “Fuel expenses at Tbilisi City Hall have increased eightfold whilst furniture expenses doubled and reach hundreds of thousands.”

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The FINANCIAL — European Georgia – Movement for Freedom mayoral candidate for Tbilisi, Elene Khoshtaria, has spoken about the possibilities of increasing pensions in Tbilisi (at the expense of cutting bureaucratic expenditures at Tbilisi City Hall) on air on TV Pirveli and underscored specific money saving activities. Ms Khoshtaria stated: “For instance [at Tbilisi City Hall,] fuel expenses have increased eightfold whilst furniture expenses have doubled.”

FactCheck tried to verify the accuracy of the aforementioned statement.

After interviewing the politician to ascertain details of her statement, FactCheck learned that Elene Khoshtaria compared the expenditures of the Tbilisi City Hall budgets for 2015 and 2016.

Fuel and furniture expenses appear under the Goods and Services budget line. According to the Tbilisi budget fulfilment report for 2015, GEL 114,269,500 was spent for purchasing goods and services whilst this figure rose to GEL 126,130,200 in 2016. According to the Tbilisi budget fulfilment report for 2015, GEL 221,600 was spent to purchase furniture, uniforms and items of personal hygiene. In 2016, these expenses amounted to GEL 565,300. Therefore, the aforementioned expenses have increased 2.5 times as compared to the previous year.

In regard to fuel expenses, the budget fulfilment report does not include separate expenses associated with fuel but groups it with costs of transport, equipment and tools. In 2015, Tbilisi City Hall’s transport expenses reached GEL 2,370,500, whilst this figure increased 2.3 times in 2016 to constitute GEL 5,593,200.

As the budget fulfilment report does not include separate expenses for fuel and furniture, FactCheck requested this information from Tbilisi City Hall. Tbilisi City Hall provided FactCheck with information about expenses for furniture which was purchased in 2013 and 2015. According to this information, Tbilisi City Hall spent GEL 27,086 to purchase furniture in 2013 and GEL 8,118 to purchase furniture in 2015. As we have already mentioned, according to the Tbilisi budget fulfilment report for 2015, the total expenses for the budget line for furniture constituted GEL 221,600. As we have seen from the information we received, furniture expenses accounted for only GEL 8,118 which means that GEL 213,482 comprised expenses associated with uniforms and items of personal hygiene in 2015.

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According to Tbilisi City Hall’s information, fuel expenses in 2013-2016 are as follows:

As illustrated by the table, fuel expenses in GEL have decreased since 2015. However, the amount of fuel consumed in 2016 increased slightly as compared to the previous year.

Conclusion

According to the Tbilisi budget report for 2016, expenses to purchase furniture, uniforms and items of personal hygiene in 2016 increased 2.5 times whilst expenses for transport, hardware and tools (this includes fuel expenses) has increased 2.3 times.

According to information provided by Tbilisi City Hall itself, furniture expenseswere incurred only in 2013 and 2015 with expenditures for furniture dropping almost threefold. Fuel expenses also decreased in 2015-2016.

FactCheck concludes that Elene Khoshtaria’s statement is MOSTLY FALSE.

 

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