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PM highlights 7.2% economic growth, inflation at 0.9%, vows farmer subsidies for damaged grapes

04 September 2023 [23:20] - TODAY.AZ

Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili on Monday said the country’s economic growth had hit 7.2 percent in the first six months of this year while inflation had decreased to 0.9 percent in August, before pledging support for farmers in the country’s east by ensuring subsidies for damaged grapes following hail, strong winds and heavy rains last week, Azernews reports, citing Agenda.

Speaking at the weekly Government meeting, the PM stressed his Government's “effective work” had ensured “continuous economic growth”, before announcing adjustments in the state budget to add “interesting initiatives and new projects” and praising his office’s efforts to regulate and lower inflation.

Noting the “big achievement” on the backdrop of high inflation and prices remaining a challenge in Europe, the United States and the rest of the developed world, the head of the Government also said the turnover of the business sector had increased by 15 percent and amounted to ?48 billion ($18 billion) in the second quarter, while the figure for the first and second quarters exceeded ?92 billion ($35 billion).

He stressed the rise was due to the Government's policies that ensured “predictability and transparency” in the country, allowing the business sector to “feel stable and safe”.

The PM also highlighted revenues from tourism had amounted to $4.5 billion last year and added more was expected in 2023, adding the flow of passengers at the Kutaisi Airport in western Georgia was close to its “historical maximum” and the Government had plans to extend its runway to 3.5 km.

We will start design [work on the runway] soon. The new runway and related infrastructure will be completed in 18 months”, he said.

Pledging support for farmers in the country’s eastern winemaking Kakheti region following last week’s hail, strong winds and heavy rainfall, the PM said the Government would ensure subsidies for all grapes, including the produce damaged in the adverse weather.

He noted the Government would allocate 90 tetris (about $0.30) in subsidies for each kilogram of grapes, including for the damaged harvest.

Pointing to wider outcomes in supporting winemaking, the official said only 40 vineries had been present across the country 10 years ago, under the previous United National Movement Government, and contrasted the figure with 2,500 under the Georgian Dream authorities.

He added in contrast to the 25,000 hectare area for vineyards under the previous authorities, the figure had doubled and amounted to 50,000 hectares under the current Government.

Speaking about benefits from winemaking, the PM said the Kakheti region had received ?270 million ($102 million) in income last year, while the figure was up to ?40 million ($15 million) 10 years ago.

He stressed total incomes received by farmers and winemakers in the region over the past 10 years had exceeded ?2 billion ($752 mln), claiming the figure would not have exceeded ?200 million ($75 mln) under the UNM Government.


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