Sergi Kapanadze: “The government announced they will spend GEL 8 billion in infrastructure for the next four years which is unbelievable since they were spending GEL 200-300 million in the past years.”

Parliamentary Minority MP, Sergi Kapanadze, stated on air on Rustavi 2: “They announced spending GEL 8 billion in infrastructure for the next four years. How I am supposed to believe this when they were spending GEL 200-300 million on average in the past years?”

FactCheck verified the accuracy of the statement.

According to 2017 Law on the Budget, the Government of Georgia plans to spend a total of GEL 10 billion for capital infrastructure projects in the next four years which is in line with the Georgian Dream’s campaign pledge of taking particular care of infrastructure development. According to four-year forecasts, GEL 1.294 billion will be spent for sewage system management, GEL 1.226 billion for Imereti regional development, GEL 1,014 for intra-state roads, GEL 838 million for Kakheti regional development and GEL 693 million for a Kutaisi solid waste management project. In 2017-2020, GEL 431 million will be spent for the construction and the reconstruction of sections of the Tbilisi-Senaki-Leselidze highway and GEL 104 million will be allocated for the east-west transit highway.

Table 1: Scheduled Infrastructural Projects in 2017-2020 (GEL Million)

Source: Ministry of Finance

The amount of funds allocated by the Government of Georgia for infrastructural projects in the next four years (2017-2020) significantly exceeds the previous four-year (2013-2016) total. In addition, the planned spending figure for infrastructure almost always (except in 2013) exceeded the actual spending sum by the year’s end which means that the infrastructure budget was not fully executed during the Georgian Dream’s first term in power. In the previous four years, the government spent a total of GEL 4,188 billion for capital infrastructural projects.

Table 2: Implemented Infrastructural Projects in 2012-2016 (GEL Million)

Source: Ministry of Finance

For additional clarity, the Government of Georgia spent GEL 1.175 billion for capital projects in 2016. Of that amount, GEL 120 million was spent for improvements to urban transport and GEL 120 million for water supply, GEL 112 million for road rehabilitation, GEL 85 million for the modernisation of the Samtredia-Grigoleti road and GEL 63 million for the development of educational facility infrastructure.

Table 3: Capital Infrastructural Projects Implemented in 2016 (GEL Million)

Source: Ministry of Finance

In order to verify Sergi Kapanadze’s statement, FactCheck analysed the capital projects document attached to the 2017 Law on Budget. According to the document, the Government of Georgia will spend nearly GEL 10 billion in the next four years for infrastructural development which is higher as compared to the figures the MP named. The same figure for 2016 amounts to GEL 1,156 billion whilst the total amount of money spent for infrastructure in 2013-2016 constitutes GEL 4.188 billion. This is GEL 1 billion on average instead of GEL 200-300 million.

The Government of Georgia’s planned spending for infrastructure in 2017-2020 is higher as compared to the previous years’ figures. The amount of money (GEL 10 billion) to be spent in 2017-2020 is 2.5 times more as compared to the money spent for the same purpose in 2013-2016. Given the insufficient spending problem of the previous years, questions are indeed raised in regard to the feasibility of the implementation of the planned infrastructural projects and the context of Sergi Kapanadze’s statement is relevant. However, Mr Kapanadze names inaccurate figures whilst substantiating his statement which significantly differ from the real situation in regard to infrastructural projects.

FactCheck concludes that Sergi Kanapadze’s statement is MOSTLY FALSE.