On October 5, 2012 The International Chamber of Commerce in Georgia triggered a meeting between Bidzina Ivanishvili and the business community at large.
During that meeting Bidzina Ivanishvili said the following:
“ I vow that my government would provide equal conditions for all the businesses and would eradicate practice of pressuring businesses by the state.
“You should immediately set off alarm bells if a government official exerts pressure on you”.
“I guarantee that no one will dare to exert pressure on businesses and the very first case of such pressure will be strictly punished. But you too should not yield to [pressure] and you should speak out in order to make it easier for us to find out [circumstances]… Speak out and let us know if there is a problem so that we can react instantly,”
“Government should be kept at distance from the business. You have to disturb the government if legislation is wrong, initiative should be coming from you and not vice versa,”
“As soon as someone from the government starts trying to befriend you, you should start shouting out loud: ‘I’m raped’… and you should start ringing alarm bells as soon as someone from the government starts offering ‘help’,”.
It is sad that the words of Bidzina Ivanishvili died with the sunset of that day.
Many businesses have been under attack by government structures in the past six years, the last episode being an attempt by the Prosecutor Office to harass, harm and undermine the largest financial institution in Georgia, TBC Bank.
Such actions will not only harm the Bank but will seriously backfire on the business climate in Georgia and on the government itself.
It is sad that history never stops repeating itself, and that politicians in power are unable to learn from the mistakes of their predecessors.
ICC-Georgia stands fully by its member TBC Bank and calls on government to stop harassment of this institution in particular and of businesses in general. The International Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in the world including over 6.5 million business members and over 12,000 chambers of commerce; ICC consults regularly at the global level with the G8, G20, the World Bank, WTO, WCO and the UN; in Georgia ICC is the largest and most vocal global Business Association, it includes over 350 corporate and youth members and 26 business and Non Governmental Organizations.