The FINANCIAL — According to Civil Georgia, President Saakashvili told new Prime Minister and the cabinet at a televised meeting on November 3 that reducing poverty and unemployment was the major priority.
He said that the government managed to overcome “the hardest political crisis” – reference to last November events, “then two elections and then large invasion and the world financial crisis.” Saakashvili said that despite this “triple – political, military and economic – hit” the country’s economy and financial system did not collapse.
He also said that former Prime Minister, Lado Gurgenidze, “is remaining an important part of the economic team” and would co-chair, along with new Prime Minister, Grigol Mgaloblishvili, a new commission charged with stabilizing the financial sector of the country. “Attraction of foreign investments, taking care of existing investments and working on other economic issues are also task of this commission,” he added.
Saakashvili again praised the new Prime Minister for his decision to at first work with the existing cabinet and assess its members before taking any decision on major changes in the government. Apart of the Prime Minister, only four ministers have been replaced as a result of the recent cabinet reshuffle.
“The war has demonstrated very well that the existing cadre [reference to the cabinet members] has justified itself,” Saakashvili said, but also added that neither he nor the society can be “satisfied with the work of the government unless there is hardship and unemployment.”
“Today the major problem is unemployment,” he continued. “Most of the people are upset by not having jobs; they do not know how to feed their children because they have no jobs; they have no hope in future, because they have no jobs.”
He said that although his government managed to reduce poverty two-fold since the Rose Revolution, “very large part of our society still lives in hardship and poverty.”
“Unemployment is major economic and political problem in the country; the world’s most unbridled force has declared war against us, but we are also in war against poverty and unemployment,” Saakashvili said.
He said that like Europe received Marshal Plan after the WWII, Georgia has also received from international donors USD 4.5 billion, plus the IMF’s USD 750 million stand-by loan.
“It means that if we work property we will manage to double our economy and double employment in next two, three years,” Saakashvili said.
He also said that “Georgia is signing a free trade agreement with Europe in next few months and also we are signing practically with the United States [an agreement] which practically amounts to freed trade treaty.”
Saakashvili said that constructing of new roads and highways was an important part of efforts to help economic growth. He, however, said he was “very much dissatisfied” with the work of the road department. “My ambitious plan – not a single bad road in Georgia before my second and final [presidential] term expires – will not be achieved with the work of this type [by the road department].”
He also told the government members to communicate with the people and “explain people what we are doing.”
“Work with the non-governmental organizations, with the parliamentary opposition,” he continued.