PM slams oil, food importers for high prices, instructs ministers to mediate for reduction

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday instructed ministers to work with big importers to regulate prices for food and oil products. Photo: Government press office, 06 Feb 2023 - 16:36, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday criticised oil and food importers in the country for “very high profits” facilitated through prices added to the “real cost” of the products, and instructing several ministers to set up a working group to negotiate a reduction. 

Speaking at the weekly Government meeting, Garibashvili stressed it was “unacceptable” to see artificial raising of the oil price by almost ₾1 ($0.4) for a litre, resulting in prices for food products featuring “nearly 100 percent added prices” for consumers.

It is wrong to gain wealth at the expense of the people”, he said, noting the importers’ attitude had been “absolutely intolerable” in contrast to the Government's efforts to ensure the growth in the state economy against ongoing regional and global challenges.

The PM instructed the ministers of economy, finance and agriculture to “rapidly” set up a working group where “all big importers” would be invited to explore options for a “proper reaction”, requesting the officials to provide a “complete picture” to him along with “appropriate solutions”.

Garibashvili pointed out his decision in 2021 to ensure a reduction of general prices of pharmaceuticals on the domestic market through imports from Turkey had also caused controversy, but eventually reduced prices by up to 80 percent, with the country’s population saving nearly ₾220 million ($83 mln) as a result.