According to Giorgi Vashadze’s assessment, old age pension did not increase proportionally to budget growth.
Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Giorgi Vashadze’s statement is FALSE.
According to the claim of the Leader of Strategy Builder, Giorgi Vashadze, Georgia’s state budget trebled after 2012 and, therefore, old age pension should have trebled as well, although it did not increase proportionally to budget growth.
In 2012 before the change of government, old age pension was GEL 110-125. Today, it is GEL 295-365 (in mountainous areas, it is +20%).
A total of GEL 3,379,200 has been allocated in Georgia’s state budget for pension payments which constitutes 15.5% of (GEL 21,880,117.1) of the total budget payables. Since 2012, the volume of state budget (payables) has increased 2.8 times and appropriations for pensions rose by nearly a factor of 3.2 in the same period. The share of budget expenses allocated for pension payments increased from 13.7% to 15.5%.
Giorgi Vashadze overlooks the fact that the number of pensioners in the country is growing. Therefore, the government has to provide for more pensioners. Since 2012, the number of old age pensioners in Georgia increased by nearly 19%. As of January 2023, the total amount of money transferred to pension accounts is almost 3.2 times higher as compared to September 2012.
Although the figures in Giorgi Vashadze’s statement are more or less accurate, his claim that old age pension did not increase proportionally to the budget under the Georgian Dream’s rule is FALSE.
The Leader of Strategy Builder, Giorgi Vashadze, stated on air on TV Pirveli: “Georgia’s state budget was GEL 8 billion when pension was GEL 130-140. Currently, Georgia’s state budget is GEL 24 billion… According to multiplication, the pension should be somewhere from GEL 450 to GEL 500 if we follow this proportion.”
FactCheck verified whether or not pension provision expenses increased proportionally to state budget growth.
It should be clarified in the first place that Giorgi Vashadze’s statement ignores the fact that the number of pensioners in the country is rising which contributes to higher expenses for pension payments from the state budget. In other words, the government has to provide for more pensioners. According to the data of the Social Service Agency, the number of old age pensioners was 680,465 in 2012 and pension expenses for a month amounted to nearly GEL 83.2 million. As of January 2023, the number of old age pensioners is 809,798 and pension payments for a month are GEL 270.5 million. Therefore, the number of pensioners increased by 129,333 persons in that period which is a 19% growth. This also means that the total amount of money transferred to pension accounts in a month has also increased 3.2 times.
In 2012 before the change of government, old age pension was GEL 110-125 (GEL 110 for pensioners under the age of 67 and GEL 125 for pensioners over the age of 67).
Currently, pension amounts are differentiated based on age groups and area of residence. Since January 2023, pensions for pensioners under the age of 70 are GEL 295 whilst pensioners of 70 years of age and above receive GEL 365. Pensioners who reside in mountainous areas receive a pension supplement in the amount of +20%. Therefore, the pension for a pensioner under the age of 70 living in mountainous areas is GEL 354 and for pensioners of 70 and above it is GEL 438.
In accordance with the 2012 state budget execution figures, the total expenses for pension provisions was amounted to GEL 1,068,393.9 which was 13.7% (GEL 7,806,801.8) of total budget payables. In accordance with the 2023 state budget, GEL 3,379,200 has been allocated for pension provisions which constitutes 15.5% of total budget payables (GEL 21,880,117.1). Therefore, the share of appropriations from the state budget for pension payments did increase. Since 2012, the state budget volume (payables) has increased by a factor of 2.8 and the pension provision expenses grew 3.2 times in the same period. Therefore, the claim that pension did not increase proportionally to budget growth is FALSE.