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Resume: In the 2019 consolidated budget, planned amount of funds allocated for labour remuneration (labour remuneration of public servants employed in central and local government bodies) is GEL 1,762 million, which constitutes 3.9% of the estimated GDP of the same year. In regard to nominal figures, as compared to 2018, labour remuneration of public servants in Georgia has been increased by GEL 69 million.

Of note is that keeping Mamuka Bakhtadze’s promise, which he made in June 2018 (when he was voted as the Prime Minister of Georgia) about decreasing labour remuneration to GDP ratio to 3.9% did not require additional efforts, because in that period, that has already been achieved (total amount of labour remuneration was within the 3.9% range of the estimated GDP of 2019). The fact that labour remuneration to GDP ratio was expected to be reduced to 3.9% was given in the supplementary documents of 2018 state budget. Since a budget of a specific year is approved by the end of a preceding year, it is possible to say that by the end of 2017, it was already known that from 2019 labour remuneration to GDP ratio would be 3.9%.

Therefore, in his statement Archil Talakvadze speaks about “keeping” the promise, which has already been kept before making that promise. This misleads the readers to a certain extent. On the other hand, however, the fact that the already achieved goal in regard to funding the so called bureaucracy has been maintained (and the figure did not increase) this year, indicates at least partial fulfilment of the promise. Therefore, FactCheck leaves Archil Talakvadze’s statement without a verdict.

Analysis

Parliamentary Majority leader, Archil Talakvadze, during the parliamentary discussion of 2019 draft state budget, stated:&“Let us recollect Mr Mamuka Bakhtadze’s statement when we voted him as Prime Minister. Mamuka Bakhtadze stated that expenses for labour remuneration would be fixed at 3.9% [of the GDP]. We can assume that this promise has been kept.”

In June 2018, when the Prime Minister was confirmed, the government programme included the “Small Government Concept” and FactCheck has written about the concept. Even though the aim of 2018-2020 government programme is to reduce the size of government, in 2019 it is not planned to shrink size of government. Statements made in that period indicate that by reducing the size of government Mamuka Bakhtadze meant cutting relative figures of labour remuneration in the consolidated budget. This does not really mean reduction of size and scale of government.

In addition, the promise to reduce consolidated budget’s labour remuneration to GDP ratio to 3.9% has already been achieved at the time of making that promise and did not require additional efforts in terms of reduction. Moreover, reduction of consolidated budget’s labour remuneration to GDP ratio to 3.9% was already stipulated in the supplementary documents of 2018 state budget, which was submitted to the Parliament of Georgia as early as December 2017 (several months prior to Mamuka Bakhtadze’s promise).

In accordance with the 2019 plan, total amount of labour remuneration (labour remuneration of public servants employed in central and local government bodies) in the consolidated budget is GEL 1,762 million, which is 3.9% of the estimated GDP of the same year. This figure (consolidated budget’s labour remuneration to GDP ratio) has been decreasing since 2016 and this trend is expected to continue until 2022, with the aforementioned ratio dropping to 3.5%.

Graph 1: Amount of Labour Remuneration in Consolidated Budget and Labour Remuneration to GDP Ratio (GEL Million, %)

Source:Ministry of Finance of Georgia

Therefore, in his statement Archil Talakvadze speaks about “keeping” the promise, which has already been kept before making that promise.& This misleads the readers to a certain extent. On the other hand, however, the fact that the already achieved goal in regard to funding the so called bureaucracy has been maintained (as stated by the MP, it was “fixed”, that is, the figure did not increase) this year, indicates at least partial fulfillment of the promise. Therefore, FactCheck refrains from giving a verdict to Archil Talakvadze’s statement.