On 30 September 2014, Rustavi 2’s talk show Archevani

 summarised the two-year rule of the Georgian Dream coalition. Social projects and especially the Universal Healthcare Programme were named as the biggest achievements of the government. As a response to this, Parliamentary Minority MP, Zurab Japaridze, stated: “As for the claim that now the state budget is more socially oriented, you can find both the 2013 state budget plan of the United National Movement and the 2013 Budget Implementation Report of the Georgian Dream coalition in the Parliament. If we compare these documents, it is clear that the United National Movement had planned to spend GEL 182 million more on social care, including healthcare, than the Georgian Dream coalition actually spent.”

FactCheck

took interest in the level of growth of the social care funding in the state budget for the past two years and its actual implementation. We also took interest in the 2013 state budget plan presented by the United National Movement in the Parliament.

According to the 2013 state budget, the planned amount for social spending was GEL 2,279 million; however, the actually implemented amount equalled GEL 2,083 million.

According to the 2013 state budget plan presented to the Parliament by the United National Movement, the planned amount of social spending was equal to GEL 2,272 million.

If we compare the 2013 budget plan presented by the United National Movement and the 2013 approved budget plan it is clear that the latter allocated GEL 5 million more on social spending. However, taking into account the implementation of the 2013 budget, GEL 189 million less was spent on social care than was initially planned, as stated by Mr Japaridze.

We tried to find out if the state budget is in fact more socially oriented now. We calculated the share of social spending in the overall state budget (Chart 1). According to the state budget data, the amount of social spending has been increasing every year from 2008 to 2014. Social spending constitutes a third of overall spending since 2013 which indicates to some extent that the state budget is indeed more socially oriented as compared to the previous years. The biggest rise in the share of social spending in overall spending (5.8%) was recorded in 2013.

We also analysed the 2013 state budget plan of the previous government which allocated GEL 2,272 million for social spending whilst the overall spending amounted to GEL 7,117 million. Hence, the share of social spending in overall spending was 31.9% which is identical to the number given in the 2013 Budget Implementation Report.

Chart 1:

  Social Spending

image001

It should be noted that the priorities of social spending have changed since the new government assumed office. Whilst the previous government prioritised targeted assistance, the new government has relied more upon universal programmes (for example: the Universal Healthcare Programme, Free Textbook Programme and so on). Time will show which of these two models is more effective and this could be a topic for a separate discussion.

Conclusion

According to the 2013 Budget Implementation Report, a total of GEL 2,083 million was spent on social care throughout the year. As for the 2013 state budget plan presented to the Parliament by the previous government, it allocated GEL 2,272 million for social spending. Hence, GEL 189 million less was spent on social care in 2013 as compared to the budget plan presented by the United National Movement.

FactCheck concludes that Zurab Japaridze’s statement: “The United National Movement had planned to spend GEL 182 million more on social care than the Georgian Dream coalition actually spent,” is TRUE.

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