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At a press conference held on 4 June 2014, a journalist asked Irakli Gharibashvili the following question: ”To be honest, there is the impression that you consider the large sums of money which Ministers have allocated for themselves and also for their subordinates as adequate. This is the kind of impression there is and I would like you to verify this.” The Prime Minister responded:

“We should finish the topic of bonuses… the salary of Ministers was equal to GEL 6,300 in the previous year. I decreased it by GEL 1,300 in January and now they have a minimum salary of GEL 5,000. Ministers have neither any salary supplement nor any other bonuses.”

FactCheck took interest in the facts given in the statement. Despite the journalist’s question, the Prime Minister focused upon the salaries of Ministers in his response. Therefore, FactCheck

verified not only the issue of bonuses for Ministers but also the issue of bonuses for persons subordinate to Ministers.

The Law of Georgia on the Structure, Powers and Activities of the Georgian Government determines the funding of a Ministry from the state budget and the targeted use of budgetary expenditures. In addition, the Ministers’ salaries include remuneration based upon rank, supplement and bonus (Article 37 of the Law on Public Service).

The amount of remuneration based upon rank is determined by the Georgian President’s Decree N43 of 2005 according to which a Ministers’ monthly salary is GEL 3,540 which equates to GEL 2,832 after the income tax deduction. The Prime Minister of Georgia is entitled to determine the monthly supplements for Ministers’ salaries (Article 5 of the Georgian Government’s Decree N54). Bidzina Ivanishvili, the former Georgian Prime Minister, used this aforementioned authority and assigned GEL 4,335 monthly as a fixed salary supplement for Ministers (as well as State Ministers) from March 2013. The purpose of this decision was the termination of the irregular issuing of bonuses for Ministers. Accordingly, the fixed supplement (GEL 4,335) was added to the remuneration based upon rank (GEL 3,540) as determined by the President’s Decree and the Minister’s monthly salary became GEL 7,875 in total.

Later, Irakli Gharibashvili announced that the Decree by the former Prime Minister was invalid and decreased the fixed supplement monthly to GEL 2,710. Therefore, a wage cut occurred in the salary supplement component and the monthly remuneration stayed as GEL 3,540 (with income tax deduction). Therefore, the Minister’s salary with the supplement is equal to GEL 6,250 (GEL 5,000 with income tax deduction).

As for the bonus, it is a financial incentive for a public servant and directed towards a particular civil servant. Georgian legislation does not determine its exact definition, the regulation of the rules for issuing a bonus or the amount.

Of note is the fact that according to information presented by Irakli Gharibashvili at the same press conference, both the administration and the Civil Service Bureau have been given the task of solving the issue of bonuses. After the Government’s meeting on 26 June, Nino Kobakhidze, Deputy Head of Administration, stated that the resolution which determines the rule of issuing the bonuses, the maximum limit and issuers of bonuses had been adopted. The Government adopted the resolution with a technical remark and a unified concept will be presented at a presentation by the Civil Service Bureau on 1 July. According to Nino Kobakhidze, the resolution will determine how employees are accepted into the public service, promoted, ranked and fired. According to the resolution, the Head of a Ministry (a supervising official) is authorised to issue no more than 100% of the salary quarterly and those Ministries which are subordinates of the Prime Minister issue bonuses in agreement with the Prime Minister. The State Treasury is responsible for controlling this issue.

As for the bonuses of Ministers, Factcheck

checked the current data available on the website of the Public Information Database. Official documents about the wages, bonuses and supplements issued by the Ministries are published on this web-site. According to the data, Ministers have not received bonuses since March 2013.

Of note is the fact that the question posed by the journalist to the Prime Minister concerned not only the issue of bonuses for Ministers but also bonuses for Deputy Ministers. However, the Prime Minister focused only upon the salaries and bonuses of Ministers and asked that we ‘finish the topic about bonuses.’ FactCheck

also verified the bonuses issued to persons subordinate to Ministers as well as the also different and irregular practice of issuing these bonuses.

As a result of analysing official documents acquired from the Ministries, we determined that the Ministry of Internal Affairs ignored the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information’s (IDFI) requested information about bonuses. The Ministry of Agriculture provided quantitative data about the issued amount of remuneration according to ranks. As for the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs, these offices provided partial data. Based upon that data, it is impossible to determine the amount of bonuses issued individually to Deputy Ministers and other officials during 2013. In addition, the Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Diaspora Issues defined that the aforementioned information contains elements of ‘personal data’ and the question about the admissibility of its issue was sent to the personal data protection inspector. Information was not requested from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia which has published information about the amount of money issued as salaries on its official web-site. The amount of bonuses (in total) issued to Deputy Ministers in the rest of the Ministries during 2013 is as follows:

 

 

I Deputy Minister

 

I Deputy Minister

 

Deputy

 

Deputy

 

 

Deputy

 

Deputy

 

Deputy

 

In total

 

Ministry of Education and Science

8,505

-

4,080

4,080

4,080

(

Head of Department)

9,330

-

30,075

Ministry of Energy

-

-

65,280

65,280

55,520

-

-

186,080

Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection

16,975

(8 months)

-

7,500

(4 months)

12 845

(8 months)

        -         -        -

37,320

 

Ministry of Justice

57,520

55,973

54,419

54,419

1,272

(1 month)

6,720

(1 month)

-

230,323

Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection

34,962

-

36,678

35,997

27,716

-

-

135,353

Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees

7,196

(2 months)

-

6,589

(2 months)

6,589

(2 months)

6,589

(2 months)

-

-

26,963

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

-

-

165,548

-

-

-

-

165,548

Ministry of Corrections and Legal Assistance

47,200

-

35,360

59,840

3,120

(1 month)

35,360

 

-

180,880

Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure

20,720

(7 months)

-

20,300

(7 months)

2,720

(1 month)

2,720

1 month)

-

-

46,460

Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs

25,060

-

4,820

(2 months)

26,320

19,770

(7 months)

-

-

75,970

Office of the State Minister on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration

40,175

-

36,505

-

-

-

-

76,680

Office of the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality

33,150

-

-

-

-

-

-

33,150

As we see, there is no unified regulation for the issuing of bonuses and supplements to Deputy Ministers in different Ministries. As a result of this, the amount of bonus in some cases significantly exceeds the amount of remuneration based upon ranking. Of further note is the fact that no bonuses are issued to Deputy Ministers in some Ministries. The issuing of bonuses was not recorded at the Ministry of Defence, for example, for the year 2013. Deputy Ministers were also receiving monthly supplements along with their remuneration based upon rank.

  Conclusion

According to the Georgian President’s Decree, the amount of monthly salaries for Ministers was equal to GEL 3,540 (GEL 2,832 with income tax deduction).

Besides the remuneration based upon rank, the salary of Ministers also includes a supplement which was decreased from GEL 4,335 to GEL 2,710 according to Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili’s Decree of January 2014. Accordingly, a fixed salary supplement (GEL 2,710) was added to the already fixed remuneration based upon rank (GEL 3,540). In the end, the Minister’s (State Ministers) salary has decreased from GEL 6,300 to GEL 5,000 with the income tax deduction. In addition, there is no other supplement to the salary other than the salary supplement determined by the Decree.

As for bonuses, according to the Public Information Database, the issuing of bonuses to Ministers is not evidenced from March 2013. Despite the fact that the Prime Minister focused only upon the Ministers’ salaries and bonuses, the question posed to the Prime Minister by the journalist at the 4 June press conference also concerned the bonuses of persons subordinate to the Ministers. According to the verified information, the cases of financial incentives and the facts of issuing multiple bonuses for Deputy Ministers and other officials still take place.

Common and established standards of bonuses do not exist in the Ministries and, therefore, different practices of financial incentives have prevailed. In addition, a defined amount of bonuses is also not regulated. However, it should be noted that Irakli Gharibashvili also took the opportunity of the press conference to emphasize that the Administration and the Civil Service Bureau have been given the task of solving the issue of bonuses. The aforementioned regulation has already been developed which will set out the rules for issuing bonuses, their frequency and their amounts. The concept will be presented at a presentation on 1 July.

FactCheck concludes that Irakli Gharibashvili’s statement,“We should finish the topic of bonuses… the salary of Ministers was equal to GEL 6,300 in the previous year. I decreased it by GEL 1,300 in January and now they have a minimum salary of GEL 5,000. Ministers have neither any salary supplement nor any other bonuses,” is MOSTLY TRUE.

Originally published in The Financial, issue N. 29 (409)