Reduction of external debt gov’t priority - finance minister

Georgian finance minister Lasha Khutsishvili on Thursday said that the external debt was at a “safe level”. Photo Nino Alavidze/, 17 Nov 2022 - 16:46, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian finance minister Lasha Khutsishvili on Thursday said reducing the country's external debt, which currently stands at $22.3 billion, was among the government's priorities. 

Presenting next year's budget in the parliament, the official said financial bodies would take on more internal debt - obtained by issuing treasury bonds and treasury obligations - to keep external debt at a “safe level” and further curb it. 

Responding to criticism on the preference of the “more expensive” internal debt, he told lawmakers external debt was also related to currency risks. 

[I]nterest rates are increasing due to the globally tightened monetary policy, which increases the cost of servicing these credits”, he said, adding that in contrast, interest rates in the Georgian national currency were decreasing and cited results in recent auctions as evidence. 

The government has plans to take on ₾3.6 billion ($1.3 bln) in debt next year, of which ₾1.4 billion ($511 mln) will be internal and ₾2.2.billion ($802 mln) external. This would mark an increase by ₾100 million ($37mln) in the former and a reduction by ₾100 million in the latter.