|Georgian Daily News for December 11, 2007|
|March 26, 2008|
Headlines from Television News:
Government to Unveil New Draft 2008 Budget
New budgetary targets for next year will be unveiled after December 14 when the government withdraws from Parliament an initial draft 2008 state budget, Gia Khuroshvili, the government's parliamentary secretary, told Civil.Ge on Tuesday. The government, headed by former Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli, submitted the draft 2008 budget to Parliament for consideration in October. New Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze, however, said after his nomination was approved on November 22 that the initial draft needed revision to make it "more socially oriented." PM Gurgenidze said at the time that defense spending cuts were on the cards in 2008. He did not, however, give exact targets.
Georgian Foreign Minister Met With BSEC Secretary General
Gela Bezhuashvili, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, met with Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos, the Secretary General of the Permanent International Secretariat of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), on Tuesday, Prime-News Business was told at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia. According to the Ministry, Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos is taking part in the 30th plenary session of the PABSEC in Tbilisi. At the meeting the parties discussed prospects for the implementation of multilateral economic projects as well as the processes taking place within the BSEC area.
Repay Gas, Electricity Debt - Saakashvili Tells Government
The government should repay debt accumulated for consumption of gas and electricity by the population, Mikheil Saakashvili, who runs his re-election campaign, said on December 11. "Electricity debt is a huge burden and people can to afford to repay it," Saakashvili told journalists. "So I urge the government to negotiate (with gas and electricity distributor companies) to writing off this debt; the government will be able to repay this debt (instead of people). The ongoing fees can be paid by the people, at least by vouchers (in frames of the state-funded social assistance program http://www.civil.ge/eng/article.php?id=16046); but the old debt should be repaid by the government." The initiative would mainly apply to internally displaced persons, who live in collective centers in Tbilisi. Koba Subeliani, the minister for refugees and accommodation, told reporters on December 11, that the deal has already been negotiated with KazTransGaz-Tbilisi, a gas distributor company in the capital Tbilisi and Telasi, an electricity distributor company in the capital city. "Debt has already been annulled; the government has been negotiating with KazTransGaz-Tbilisi and Telasi the issue for a long time already," Subeliani said. It, however, was not immediately clear what the amount of debt was. Meanwhile, as part of the authorities pre-election pledge pensioners in Georgia were able to take increased pensions on December 11. The minimal monthly pension was increased from GEL 38 to GEL 55.
Saakashvili Defends New Emphasis on Social Policy
Presidential candidate Mikheil Saakashvili hit back at opponents on December 10, saying the government's current emphasis on social issues was possible only because of the reforms carried out by his administration over the last few years. The opposition had alleged that the government's new social assistance programs and its decision to increase minimum pensions and salaries for teachers was a pre-election PR stunt. "Some opponents ask - they question everything I say - why do you tackle unemployment only now? Where were you before?" Saakashvili said. "If they really want to know, I'll tell them where I was before. I was constructing roads, because there cannot be real employment without roads. I was restoring electricity supplies, because there cannot be any employment without electricity. I was fighting robbers and criminals, because real business cannot develop where you have robbers and criminals. I was tackling corruption, because with it there cannot be any employment." Speaking to voters in Telavi, a town in the eastern region of Kakheti, Saakashvili said that "Georgia without poverty" was his main goal.
Increased Pensions Paid Since Today At The Offices Of The People's Bank
Increased pensions are paid since today throughout the country at the offices and service centers of the People's Bank of Georgia. As BLACK SEA PRESS was told at the People's Bank, the workday for all departments dealing with payment of pensions began at 8 a.m. There are 210 branches and service centers of the People's Bank operating at the whole territory of Georgia. 150 ATMs of the bank are operating for the clients, besides. Let us remind that the minimal pension rate in Georgia was increased from GEL 38 to up to GEL 55 in December. The State expenses for payment of pensions were increased by about GEL 14 million accordingly. Besides, the pensions will be paid with the long-service increments. GEL 5 will be added to the amount in case of 5-15 years' length of service, GEL 7 - for 15-25 years', while in case of 25-year or longer length of service - GEL 10 will be added. Worth mentioning, Lado Gurgenidze, Prime Minister of Georgia, declared earlier that the minimal pension rate would be increased in Georgia in 2008 to up to GEL 76.
TBC-Bank Entered The Banking Market In Azerbaijan
TBC-Bank entered the banking market in Azerbaijan, having acquired 75% of shares at the local credit institute SOA Credit. Mamuka Khazaradze, chairman of the Supervisory Council of TBC-Bank, reported on it today at the press conference. According to him, the shares were acquired at the American Shorebank. The amount of the deal is kept in secrecy. Mamuka Khazaradze reported that the course for regional development was initiated by TBC-Bank in the conditions of success at the Georgian market. They have chosen Azerbaijan, because the latter is a strategic partner of Georgia. "We plan to introduce new banking products at the Azerbaijani market. We cherish hopes for successful development of the new structure. As planned, the investments in the Azerbaijani bank will total annual $30-50 million during several years. As expected, in case of successful work, assets of the Azerbaijani bank will be increased to up to $1.5 billion", - Mamuka Khazaradze. He noted that research of the market was scheduled for the nearest future, while the resolution on possible re-branding of SOA Credit would follow. Mamuka Khazaradze reported that under the five-year development strategy of TBC-Bank, the Georgian bank planned to enter the markets of extra two countries during 1.5-2 years. As expected, assets of TBC Group will reach $5 billion in 5 years. The non-banking credit organization SOA Credit was founded by the American organization Shorebank in 2001. The Authorized Capital of SOA Credit totals $2.5 million, while the credit portfolio - $10 million. TBC-Bank is one of the leaders of the banking sector of Georgia. Assets of the bank as of 1 November 2007 made GEL 1.76 billion ($1.1 billion), the liabilities - GEL 1.48 billion ($925 million), while the joint stock - GEL 272.8 million ($170.5 million). Net profit of the TBC-Bank as of 30 September 2007 made GEL 16.9 million ($10.4 million); the index made GEL 16.8 million in the same period of 2006. Under the quarterly report, IFC (30.95%), TBC Holding Ltd (21.67%), Liquid Crystal International N.V (20.1%), DEG (13.33%) as well as Georgian natural persons are principal shareholders of TBC-Bank.
Aldagi-BCI Enlarged Services under Insurance of Teachers after the State Program
Georgian Insurance Company Aldagi-BCI presented today the package of extra services under the State Program of Insurance of Teachers. Nikoloz Gamkrelidze, director general of the Company Aldagi-BCI, reported on it today at the press conference. According to him, GEL 8.5 million was allotted by the State for funding of health insurance of 70,000 teachers of secondary schools. Cost of one insurance package makes GEL 10. The Program is intended for 6 years. The State will fund it during 2 years, while the further plan envisages co-funding with the client alongside with gradual reduction of the State share in it. Special vouchers will be issued to the teachers. Five Georgian Insurance Companies will participate in the Program including Aldagi-BCI. Teachers insured under the State Program will enjoy free both regular and urgent out-patient and hospital medical service. Maternity expenses will be also paid. The teachers will choose the private insurance company according to own wish. Nikoloz Gamkrelidze reported that Aldagi-BCI planned to add some services to the insurance package with the conditions defined by the State. In particular, preferential full payment under the insurance policy is envisaged for the dentist's service, medical testing and treatment abroad. Health insurance of members of families of the teachers is also envisaged. Insurance Company Aldagi-BCI is leading at the insurance market of Georgia. The Company attracted GEL 17.6 million premium in the first half of 2007. The total compensated damage made GEL 3.5 million during 6 months of 2007.
One Extra Insurance Company Archimedes Global Georgia Started to Work in the Country
One extra Insurance Company - Georgian-Israeli Company Archimedes Global Georgia - has started to work in the country. As Nika Ramishvili, director general of the Company, reported at the press conference, Archimedes Global Georgia planned to offer the health insurance package for elderly people. "Regardless significant reforms implemented by the State in the health care field, insurance is inaccessible for part of the population of Georgia. They are the people who are subject to age-limit at the insurance companies. They are about 600,000", - Nika Ramishvili said. The first action starts in January 2008. Health insurance will be proposed to the aged people under it. The Company will offer, at the initial stage, the type of service based on the State insurance standard. Minimal cost of the package totals GEL 15. International Company Archimedes Global Georgia was founded by the Israeli Company Archimedes Global (51%) and the Georgian Group Samgori (49%). The Authorized Capital of the Company makes GEL 1 million. Medical insurance is the main service. Head Office of the Company is located in Tbilisi. Offices are planned to be opened in Telavi, Zugdidi, Batumi, Poti and Kutaisi.
Sergey Generalov Sold His Assets In Georgia
Sergey Generalov, the principal owner of the Group Industrial Investors, sold his share in one of the largest mining companies of Georgia Madneuli (annual over 2 million tons of ore are extracted at Madneuli and 60,000 tons of gold-copper concentrate are produced at it) and in its subsidiary Quartzite (annual over 30,000 ounces of gold-silver bullions) as well as sold other mining assets in Russia and South Caucasus. The Russian newspaper Vedomosti reports on it with reference to Oleg Rumiantsev, vice president of the Industrial Investors Group. Company GeoProMining owned by Siman Povarenkin, chairman of the Board of Directors and co-owner of Industrial Investors, acquired the assets. The press release of the Group reads that the deal has been bought in. Oleg Rumiantsev reports that Sergey Generalov plans to focus on other projects of the Group, transport ones in particular. Joint Stock Company (JSC) Madneuli is one of the largest mining enterprises of Georgia. British Company Stanton Equities Corporation, member of the Russian Group Industrial Investors, bought at the auction 97,25% block of shares of the Georgian mining concern Madneuli at $51.1 million. Madneuli is the founder and the owner of 50% of gold-mining enterprise Quartzite. As it was reported earlier, the Georgian mining company JSC Madneuli held talks on acquisition of two Armenian Companies - mining company Golden Ore and Ararat gold-mining concern.
Abkhazia Alludes to Kosovo
The scheduled rotation of Russia's peacekeepers lasted for nearly a month. Some 600 troopers of the motor rifle battalion, engineer combat company and separate mortar battery were replaced by the equal number of peacekeepers from similar units. Georgia, however, claims it wasn't rotation but rather reinforcement of military contingent in the area. In an effort to confront the potential danger, Georgia's Acting President Nino Burjanadze chaired yesterday an extraordinary meeting of Security Council. According to Burjanadze, Russia is sending additional troops to Georgia to get advantage of elections and destabilize the region. To justify the moves of Moscow, Abkhazia's president even declared the state of emergency in its breakaway republic, the acting president pointed out. But the alleged reinforcement of contingent apparently agitates Georgia not only because of presidential elections but rather because of recognition of Kosovo's independence. Exactly that issue was the actual highlight of Georgia's Security Council. Although indirectly, nearly all participants made clear that Russia is militarizing Abkhazia to ensure military support to the region once the Kosovo precedent is finally created and the CIS recognizes Abkhazia's independence. Meanwhile, in Tbilisi they say they have prepared counteractions should Russia attempt to refer to the Kosovo precedent. No details have been given for record, but the matter at stake is probably the so-called ultimatum to the Kremlin http://www.kreml.ru. Georgia may threaten by backing up the separatists in North Caucasus, as its border with them is really long. Suffice it to say that the toughest stage of Chechnya's conflict ended no sooner than official Tbilisi stepped in and took under control the Pankisi Gorge that borders on Chechnya.
Georgian CEC Members from United Opposition Call on Electors to Check Their Presence in List of Voters
Members of the Central Election Commission of Georgia from the United National Council call on electors to check their data in the united list of voters. They made the mentioned statement at a press conference on December 11. "Till December 11 all electors should visit their polling stations and check whether they have been registered or not. Moreover, the electors being abroad on the election day, should be written off from their polling stations and be registered in Georgian Embassies in this or that states", Nino Goguadze, the CEC member from the Conservative Party of Georgia, stated. The opposition believes that the whole quantity of the constituency of Georgia has been significantly enlarged at the expense of the dead souls as compared with the last year. The BLACK SEA PRESS news agency was informed at the CEC Press Center that after the specification of the united list of electors, 3 372 836 voters had been registered in Georgia. And last year 3,205,634 voters had been registered by the local self-government elections.
Imedi TV to Resume Broadcasts on December 12
Imedi TV will resume broadcasting at 8 pm local time on December 12, a ticker line running at the bottom of the Imedi screen reads. Qronika (Chronicles) news program will kickstart resumed broadcasting and later on the same day a talk show, On the Air, is expected to follow. Speaking on a late night talk show - Journalism as a Profession - on Tbilisi-based Maestro TV on December 8, Giorgi Targamadze, head of Imedi's political programs, said that technicians were working "almost round-the-clock" to repair damaged equipment in the Imedi studios. He said there was extensive damage in the main studio's control unit; the internal phone network and fiber-optic internet connection was totally destroyed. "The people who did it were professionals, because they targeted the most important equipment to create more problems for us," Targamadze said. The authorities have promised to compensate the station for the damage, but they have refused to cover lost advertisement revenues, estimated to be about USD 3 million. Giorgi Targamadze also said that the station's management were actively looking for replacements for some key anchors who quit the station following its closure by the authorities. Inga Grigolia and Eka Khoperia, former hosts of On the Air, quit the station, as did a newscaster and two other journalists. Khoperia now hosts a program on Tbilisi-based Ucnobi radio station and Grigolia yesterday hosted a political talk show produced by TBC TV studio and aired by Imedi's main rival, Rustavi 2 TV. Grigolia told Rustavi 2 TV that she had decided to leave Imedi TV after its co-owner, business tycoon Badri Patarkatsishvili, decided to run for the presidency. Targamadze said that Imedi newscaster Magda Anikashvili would be the new host of On the Air.
Decemebr 11, 2007
“For the first time in Georgia’s contemporary history the head of state has demonstrated a state vision, a large-scale thinking, the faculty of implementing strategic changes and crisis management. This leader is Georgia’s president Mikheil Saakashvili,” reads the address of 100 scientists, businessmen and artists of Georgian origin living in the U.S.
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