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Georgian prime minister announces changes in government

The number of ministries in Georgia is reduced from 18 to 14, six ministers lost their posts, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikaishvili has announced at a briefing.

Kvirikashvili stressed that the changed in the government structure are aimed at achieving more progress and will allow the government cut administrative expenditures.

Interior Minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili, Education and Science Minister Alexander Jejelava, Environment Protection Minister Gigla Agulashvili, Energy Minister Ilia Eloshvili, Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Tariel Khechikashvili and State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Viktor Dolidze have lost their posts.

As for structural changes, the economy and sustainable development ministry will be merged with the energy ministry and natural resources management department. The new economy and sustainable development ministry will be headed by current finance minister Dmitri Kumsishvili, who will also remain first deputy prime minister. Office of the State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration will be incorporated into the foreign ministry which will still be headed by the current foreign minister Mikheil Janelidze. Current economy minister Giorgi Gakharia will become interior minister.

Mamuka Bakhtadze, who is now CEO of the Georgian Railways, will become the new finance minister. The environment protection ministry will be merged with the agriculture ministry and headed by Levan Davitashvili. The sports department of the abolished youth and sports ministry will be part of the culture ministry where Mikheil Giorgadze will remain the minister.

Besides, Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced establishment of the Center for Emergency Situations Management at the Georgian Prime Minister, it will be based on the Crisis Management Council and Emergency Situations Management Agency. Its head will be current interior minister Giorgi Mgebrishvili. Besides, the Intelligence Service will be merged into the National Security Service.

At the current stage, to complete the reform, the Georgian government needs to submit to the parliament amendments to the law on the Georgian government. The issue will be solved at next session of the government.

The opposition met the news with unambiguous response. According to one of the leaders of the European Georgia opposition party Sergi Kapanadze, the changes in the government have both positive and negative dimensions.

“To assess it comprehensively, one needs to understand where the money left after abolishment of the ministries go. If they are again spent for the bureaucracy, while the ministries are mechanically merged, there is no sense in such abolishment. If the money is released, it needs to be spent for improving the social situation, boosting the economy and making up for losses that occurred after tax cuts. We shall it soon. I doubt the government will do this,” Kapanadze posted in Facebook.

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