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At the presidential debates held on 17 October, Davit Bakradze, presidential candidate of the United National Movement, drew Giorgi Margvelashvili’s attention to three major promises given by the Georgian Dream: the increase of pensions to GEL 220, establishment of 60 factories and creation of tens of thousands of jobs. Davit Bakradze inquired how the Georgian Dream was intending to fulfil these promises “when not a single tetri

of the next year’s state budget is allocated for the increase of pensions, not a single construction of a factory has been initiated and statistical data shows that tens-of-thousands of jobs are being lost.”

FactCheck

set out to check whether or not the draft Law on the State Budget of Georgia for 2014 projects an increase of pensions.

Georgian Law on the State Budget of 2013 defines the size of the pension for persons of different ages as follows:

  1. Before 1 April 2013 the amount of state pensions shall be:

a)      GEL 100 for women between 60 to 67 years old and men from 65 to 67;

b)      GEL 125 for persons of 67 years or older

  1. From 1 April 2013 to 1 September 2013 the state pension for the pensioners of all ages shall amount to GEL 125
  2. Starting from 1 September, the state pension for the pensioners of all ages shall amount to GEL 150.

It is to be noted herewith, that the former government was planning an increase in the state pensions of 2013 as well and this intension was manifested in the draft budget, which was crafted and presented by them.

Chapter 8 Article 32 of the draft Law on the 2014 State Budget of Georgia, which defines the allocations for the activities of the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, leaves the pension of all age groups in 2014 at GEL 150. This information was confirmed to us by the representative of the Ministry of Finance as well.

State Budget Allocations

                                                                                                     GEL Thousand

222

As can be gathered from the table above, according to the approved plan of 2013, funds allocated for pensions totalled GEL 1,146 mil, which exceeds the funds spent in 2012 by GEL 78 mil (according to the data for six months of 2013, the funds spent on pensions amounted to GEL 530 mil). As for the plan of 2014, the costs are GEL 179 mil higher than those in the approved plan of 2013, while the size of pension remains unchanged. This difference is primarily caused by the fact that while in 2013 the pension of GEL 150 was distributed only starting from 1 September, in 2014 the increased pension will be given out throughout the whole year.

Conclusion Davit Bakradze claims that the budget of 2014 foresees no increase of the pensions. Starting from 1 September 2013 the state pension of all age groups was increased to GEL 150 and as noted above, the size of pensions is not projected to be raised throughout 2014. The rise of GEL 179 mil observed in the funds allocated for pensions in 2014 as compared to 2013 is caused primarily by the difference in the number of months, during which the raised pensions are to be distributed. Consequently, we conclude that presidential candidate’s statement: “Not a single tetri of the next year’s state budget is allocated for the increase of pensions,” is TRUE.

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