Today MPs of the Georgian Parliament approved amendments to the law "On public service" in the first reading, they involve restriction of premiums for senior officials. It is expected that these funds will be used for other purposes, which will allow to "support the 'belt-tightening policy' publicly announced by the Georgian government."
It is specified that restrictions will not affect officials of middle and especially lower ranks. The document will be valid for six months. The author of the amendments is an MP from the ruling 'Georgian Dream' coalition, Zachary Kutsnashvili, Sputnik Georgia notes.
Experts Vakhtang Maisaya, Petre Mamradze and Ramaz Sakvarelidze, interviewed by correspondents of Vestnik Kavkaza, expressed the view that the bill proposed by 'Georgian Dream' will fill the existing gap in the reputation of the party, which will be especially relevant on the eve of parliamentary elections.
For example, a member of the 'Expert Club of Georgia', Vakhtang Maisaya, explained that the system of issuing premiums which exists at the moment, is, in fact, nothing but elite corruption.
"The infamous premiums a the weak link for the current ruling coalition. Critical comments were made, which specifically pointed out the existence of "elite" corruption. When the official bureaucrat issues himself a tenfold premium, which is not comparable with any frameworks, it is actually a corrupt scheme, which gives them the opportunity to adjust this scheme to the legislation under which they received the premiums. This is an additional financial benefit, despite the fact that their wages are already so high. In other words, the new law closes this loophole," he stressed.
"All of this began only now, because there will be parliamentary elections soon. The harbinger of this political campaign is the mid-term elections on October 31 in the Sagarejo and Marneuli districts, where voters have to choose between two majoritarian MPs. These elections, in fact, are the cornerstone, because just as they will be held, the parliamentary elections at the federal level will be held a year later. So this law is an attempt by the ruling coalition to already start the election campaign, because it has lost the trust of the population which brought it to power. The objective of this political force is to improve its condition before the elections," he said.
The head of the Institute for Strategy Management, Peter Mamradze, told that this system appeared long before 'Dream' came to power, and the ruling coalition should have paid attention to it much earlier.
"This problem is very old. When I was head of the presidential administration, I noticed that the system is very flawed. It is called a premium, but in fact it is a doubled salary, which is actually issued 12 times a year. When 'Dream' came to power, it did not change it, but actually increased the bonuses, which are given to everybody, regardless of the quality of work. And, of course, there was a buzz about this and about the very expensive cars which are bought by the authorities. Ivanishvili himself reacted to all of this very negatively. Now, finally – better late than never – the situation has begun to change. It would be better to increase the salary, but give premiums to those who really deserve it. I welcome this decision, although it is overdue," the expert pointed out.
Political analyst Ramaz Sakvarelidze pointed out that the existing system of premiums is particularly out of place against the background of the low population welfare, recalling that half the people of Georgia are poor. "This problem has been discussed for a long time, because high premiums in many ministries caused quite strong reactions from the population, half of whom are in poverty," he explained.
"One of the claims against the ruling group of politicians is that they practically haven't changed the socio-economic situation for the population: it stays at the same level. In addition, there is currency devaluation, which occurs in all countries, but in Georgia it hits the budgets of the poor hardest, and there are a lot of them. And against the background of these social and economic problems there is acute irritation about the fact that politicians and officials themselves nominate premiums that are almost a thousand times higher than a standard pension," the expert added.
"On the one hand, elections are approaching. On the other hand, there are some sociological studies, according to which the rating of the ruling party has strongly reduced, and this problem played a certain role in it," he noted.