"2018 will be a more dynamic year for Georgia in terms of economic growth,” said Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili at the last Government Meeting of 2017, while summarising the achievements his government made this year and setting tasks for 2018.
In his speech this morning, Kvirikashvili highlighted some of the major economic developments of Georgia:
- In the first 10 months of 2017 Georgia’s economy grew by 4.9 percent;
- In the first nine months of 2017 a total of 38,000 job places were created;
- Profit tax reform has enabled businesses to save over 500 million GEL investment resource;
- In 2018 Georgia will implement reforms on VAT returns which envisage the creation of a special system through which entrepreneurs will be able to pay VAT returns in 5-7 business days by filling out an electronic application;
- In 2018 deposit insurance system will be launched in Georgia;
- In 2018 Georgia expects important developments of its first Business House, which will improve the quality of services offered to the business community, will make it easier to do business in Georgia and reduce service time and costs.
Some of these reforms are part of the government’s four-point reform agenda, which includes new tax benefits, infrastructure plans, governance reforms and an overhaul of the education system. Kvirikashvili said the four-point reform agenda will be continued in 2018 as well.
PM Kvirikashvili also stated that Georgia experienced important developments in terms of its foreign economic direction. As an example, he noted a new free trade deal between Georgia and 4 European countries - Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein – that came into play this year and also a free trade deal with China, which was also signed this year.
The head of the Georgian government also spoke about the conflict-affected population and said care for them "will be a strategic direction for our government”.
A peaceful, consistent and pragmatic policy of conflict resolution, which we are implementing step-by-step and which has great support, will remain one of the most important directions for us,” said Kvirikashvili.
While, talking about Georgia’s foreign policy’s priority directions, Kvirikashvili said it was European and Euro-Atlantic integration.
We have repeatedly stated that the central and main priority of our team is European and Euro-Atlantic integration and this vector is basis for the reforms that are ongoing in our country. This vector defines the largest part of our internal reforms.
The main achievement in this direction was visa-free travel with the European Union, which was a great success for the entire team in 2017. It was not, of course, just free movement, it was a very important political gesture from the EU and proof of confidence in Georgia.
We have far-reaching goals. The ultimate goal of Georgia is full membership in the EU and that's why we are starting to act in accordance with a new agenda, "Road Map to the EU" and it is much wider than the Association Agreement. We are all sure that we will successfully implement our program,” Kvirikashvili said.
He added that the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) integration and cooperation with the United States (US) were also priorities of the Georgian government.
Of course, relations will deepen in both directions," said the PM.
This was the first government meeting since the parliament of Georgia gave a vote of confidence to the Prime Minister and updated the list of cabinet members. A vote of confidence was needed after a major structural changes of the government of Georgia, during which several ministries merged, while some of them were abolished.