PM reviews economic development, notes $11.15bln growth in 3 years

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday reviewed the economic development of the country since 2012 in his end-of-year comments on the Government’s work. Photo: Gov't Administration, 18 Dec 2023 - 19:50, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday reviewed the economic development of the country since 2012 in his end-of-year comments on the Government’s work, telling an event in Tbilisi the domestic economy had grown by ₾30 billion ($11.15bln) over the past three years.

He said the gross domestic product per capita had reached $8,100 this year and would exceed $8,500 in 2024. The PM compared the figures to 2012 data and said the GDP had stood at about ₾27 billion ($10.04bln) 11 years ago, while this year it had reached ₾80 billion ($29.74bln) and was projected to be ₾86 billion ($31.97) in 2024.

I want to remind the public what kind of economy the [ruling] Georgian Dream party took over in 2012. Let us remind you that at that time poverty was almost over 30 percent and unemployment was [at] the same [figure], and there were no prospects in the country. The business was completely demotivated”, he said.

The Prime Minister said his office had achieved double-digit economic growth during the past two years “amid great challenges and cataclysms” in the wider region and around the world.

We managed to grow the economy of our country by 10 percent during the last two years and achieve seven percent growth this year, while other leading economies are shrinking and in many places decline is serious”, he said.

Garibashvili said the Government had also managed to “completely take inflation under control”, with the figure dropping below one percent and under the target rate.

The Prime Minister also told the audience for the annual report that:

  • Georgian exports reached $5.6 billion in 2022 - up by 11 percent compared to 2021 and by 135 percent compared to 2012
  • Average monthly nominal earnings reached ₾1,855.4 ($689.83) in Q3 of 2023 - registering a 16.3 percent year-on-year increase; 2.5 times higher than in 2012
  • The total assets of the commercial banks of Georgia amounted to ₾75 billion ($27.88bln) in September 2023 - up by 400 percent compared to December 2012
  • Foreign direct investment increased by 60 percent in 11 years, from average $950 million in 2003-2012 to $1.5 billion in 2013-2022
  • Unemployment rate fell to an “all-time low” of 17 percent last year, with the figure at 27 percent in 2012
  • Poverty also fell to an “all-time low” of 15 percent
  • In Q3 of 2023, the unemployment rate was 15.6 percent, and the number of employed people reached “record high” of 1.366 million
  • Government debt was down to 38.2 percent, from 60 percent registered three years ago
  • Budget deficit was measured at 2.8 percent in 2023

He noted Georgia had moved into countries with a higher than average income according to the classification of the World Bank. 

In 2028-2030, Georgia will be closer to the so-called median standard of the Central and Eastern European countries, closer to the level of income per capita, taking into account the purchasing power, which is approximately the average of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe today”, he said.

The Prime Minister also shared results of enterprise activities across the country of 2022, saying the turnover received by the Georgian business sector had increased four times since 2012 - from ₾42 billion ($15.62bln) to ₾181 billion ($67.29bln). 

The Government head said a total of ₾140 million ($52.05mln) had been “returned to taxpayers” in the country in 2012 as part of the VAT reform, while this year the number was ₾2.2 billion ($0.82bln).

The reform involves returning the surplus generated from VAT payments through a “new and simplified” system upon delivery of VAT declarations. The official said the initiative had belonged to Bidzina Ivanishvili - the founder of the ruling party and former PM - and that the business had “breathed a sigh of relief” thanks to the reform.

Garibashvili also spoke about the state programme of Produce in Georgia, launched in 2014, and said it had financed about 12,000 projects, created around 70,000 jobs and issued over ₾400 million ($148.72mln) in financing.

He also mentioned the Micro and Small Business Support programme that financed over 12,000 beneficiaries and over 9,000 projects. The PM said 43 percent of the beneficiaries were women, adding the total amount of issued grants was ₾116 million ($43.13mln).

The Prime Minister said the Government had started working on attracting “large companies” from the business process outsourcing industry and information technology to the country, with the sectors employing “tens of thousands” of professionals.