The FINANCIAL -- Verdict: FactCheck leaves Dimitri Kumsishvili’s statement WITHOUT A VERDICT.
Resume: As a result of the EU4Business initiative, 2,450 jobs were created in Georgia in the period of 2009-2016. With EU participation, grants in the amount of EUR 35 million have been issued to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). In addition, EUR 711 million in loans have also been triggered.
The EU4Business-EBRD credit line was launched in September 2016. The programme aims to provide investments in necessary technologies and machinery to bring SMEs closer to EU-Georgia Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement standards which in turn will increase Georgian export to the EU market. Dimitri Kumsishvili refers to this opportunity in his statement. Medium and short-term loans in the amount of EUR 60 million (GEL 180 million) have been issued through the credit line and via partner banks. Nearly 100 beneficiaries are involved in the project.
Of note is that thus far FactCheck has not been able to access information about the number of jobs mentioned in Dimitri Kumsishvili’s statement. After communication with EU4Business project stakeholders, we were still unable to obtain statistics about jobs created as part of the programme. Therefore, a complete verification of Dimitri Kumsishvili’s aforementioned statement is not possible.
The Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Dimitri Kumsishvili, stated that more than 100 companies in Georgia have already benefitted from the EU4Business credit line and more than GEL 180 million has been invested. The Minister also underlined that 7,000 new jobs were created as part of that programme.
EU4Business is an EU initiative which was launched in 2009 in the six Eastern Partnership countries and aims to support their SMEs. EU4Business helps entrepreneurs to have easier access to finances, markets and knowledge and supports them in the development and implementation of business strategies.
In accordance with information from EU4Business local representatives, there are 18 ongoing projects as part of the initiative. Of this number, four projects are being carried out with the participation of partner organisations. One of them is the EU4Business-EBRD credit line. Dimitri Kumsishvili refers to this bilateral initiative in his statement.
As part of the EU4Business initiative, a total of EUR 1.5 billion in loans has been issued in the six Eastern Partnership countries in the period of 2009-2016 as well as 10,000 jobs have been created and 110,000 beneficiaries have benefitted from their access to knowledge. Of this amount, EUR 35 million in grants have been issued in Georgia for business development in the capacity of investments in the initial capital in this period. EUR 711 million in loans have been issued for companies. Approximately 63,000 companies have benefitted from access to knowledge and 2,450 jobs have been created.
The EU4Business-EBRD credit line was launched in September 2016. The programme aims to provide investments in necessary technologies and machinery to bring SMEs closer to EU-Georgia Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement standards which in turn will increase Georgian export to the EU market. The EU4Business-EBRD credit line operates simultaneously in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. In addition to loans issued through cooperation with partner banks (Bank of Georgia and TBC Bank in Georgia), the credit line envisions awarding up to 15% of the loan amount to enterprises as grants, provided that their projects have been successfully implemented by means of the loans.
Since September to the present day, EUR 60 million (GEL 180 million) in loans have been issued in Georgia. Nearly 100 SMEs have used this opportunity. In the upcoming years, the credit line plans to invest an additional EUR 1.1 billion in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
After the release of Dimitri Kumsishvili’s statement, FactCheck had communication with every stakeholder of the project, including the EU4Business and EBRD’s Georgian representation as well as the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. In spite of FactCheck’s lengthy efforts, we were unable to obtain information about 7,000 new jobs mentioned in Dimitri Kumsishvili’s statement. As a result of our talks with EBRD representation, we learned that an EU4Business-EBRD partner Italian company is in charge of statistics in regard to created jobs. FactCheck continues to try to contact this company and we will offer updated information to readers as soon as we obtain it.