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Zurab Japaridze, Member of the Parliamentary Minority from the United National Movement, stated at the Parliamentary session held on 1 May 2013: “The National Statistics Office of Georgia has recently released economic data for the first quarter of 2013. It shows practically that a deterioration of every economic indicator is evident. The sharp drop in economic growth is a fact: a drop in the turnover index of VAT, a decrease of exports and imports and a drop in the prospective revenues compared to both the 2013 plan and the same quarter of the last year is evident. This practically means that instead of addressing the problems; that is, the creation of new jobs, the number of jobs is decreasing.”

FactCheck

wondered whether or not economic growth has significantly slowed down. We checked the statement made by Zurab Japaridze.

According to the official data provided by the National Statistics Office of Georgia: “In the first quarter of 2013 as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year, the Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased by 1,7%. But the Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP)  in the first quarter of 2012

as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year increased by 6,8%. Therefore, in the first quarter of 2013, the leading indicator of economic growth (GDP growth rate) dropped as compared to the same period of the previous year.

The National Statistics Office of Georgia released this information

on 30 April 2013. The Office notes that this is a preliminary assessment and an adjusted assessment can be different from the preliminary one.

Zurab Japaridze made his statement on 1 May 2013. It means that he should have based his assumptions on the Report

of GeoStat which was published on 30 April 2013.

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According to the graph, as compared to the same period of the previous year, the turnover index of VAT increased by 4,4% in January; this indicator was only 0,4% in February and -3,2% in March. If we look at the overall picture of the turnover index of VAT in the first quarter of 2013, as compared to the same period of the previous year, it increased by 0,3%.

However, if we take into account the statistics of 2012; namely, the increase of turnover index of VAT in 2012

 as compared to 2011, the 0,3% increase in 2013, as compared to 2012, appears rather bleak.

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As for the foreign trade statistics for the first quarter (January-March)of 2013 as compared to the same time of period of 2012, they are as follows:

Export of goods (FOB) - 5,4% (increase)

Import of goods (CIF) - 8,5 % (decrease)

Foreign trade turnover - 5,2% (decrease)

According to the statistics from the website of the Revenue Service of Georgia, revenue for the first quarter of 2013 is approximately 3,15% less than the revenue for the corresponding period of 2012.

Zurab Japaridze also discussed the decrease in terms of the creation of new job places during his statement at the Parliamentary session. According to the data

of the National Statistics Office, jobs were significantly reduced in the first quarter of 2013 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2012; however, jobs were increased in the first quarter of 2013 as compared to the same quarter of 2012. The National Statistics Office does not have a methodology of seasonal adjustments. Accordingly, if the data is not seasonally adjusted, comparing any quarter to any other quarter (adjacent or non-adjacent ) is not possible and only comparing of parallel quarters of different years is feasible. Here we should also note that in the part of the statement where Zurab Japaridze talked about reduction of job places, he did not base his assumption on the data of GeoStat. That logically stems from the fact that the MP made his statement on 1 May 2013, whereas official data of the National Statistics Office on job places was published 4 June 2013.

Conclusion

According the data published by the National Statistics Office, to which Zurab Japaridze refers, a drop in the rate of economic growth as well as revenue is evident as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year. However, the country's export was growing instead of declining as the MP wrongly indicated in his statement. Also based on the data of GeoStat and its existing methodology, there is an increase and not a decrease of job places in the first quarter of 2013 as compared to the same quarter of the previous year.

Therefore, we rate Zurab Japaridze’s statement about the deterioration of almost all economic indicators, MOSTLY TRUE.
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