On 14 November 2014, at a plenary session of the Parliament of Georgia, Bolnisi MP, Darejan Chkhetiani, spoke about the situation in her constituency. According to Ms Chkhetiani, nothing has been done in the last ten years for developing the roads, water supply, infrastructure or any other field in Bolnisi. She spoke about the decentralisation of the local self-governments as well. More precisely, she advocated for assigning local self-governmental entities with higher financial autonomy. As the MP stated, it would be better for the development of Bolnisi if the revenues from the gold mine were directed to the local self-government entity’s budget instead of to the central budget.


verified the accuracy of Ms Chkhetiani’s statement.

Bolnisi City Hall provided us with the list of the projects implemented in the municipality from 2004 to 2014. In 2014, rehabilitation work on the drinking water systems, roads, bridges, lighting systems and irrigation canals were prioritised in the Bolnisi Municipality. Moreover, significant amounts were spent on rehabilitating ceremonial houses and graveyards. In total, infrastructural work valued at GEL 1.3 million was carried out in the municipality’s villages.

The Village Programme, as well, has been implemented in Bolnisi since 2009 and a great deal of infrastructural projects are being funded and implemented as a part of its activities. For example, Village Programme funds allocated in 2013 have been spent mainly on the rehabilitation of drinking water systems and internal roads in Bolnisi Municipality villages. Additionally, the first phase of reconstructing the historical part of Bolnisi has been finished. Roofs of buildings and road segments have also been rehabilitated. In 2004-2014, infrastructural work with a focus on internal roads, water supply systems and local problems has been implemented in the municipality. Gasification work in Savaneti and five other villages was completed on 3 December 2014. Overall, 1,213 subscribers have been provided with natural gas. For the purpose of the gasification of the aforementioned villages, a 35 km-long average pressure gas pipeline has been constructed. It is noteworthy that the roofing process of residential blocks began on 9 December in Bolnisi and Kazreti with a total of GEL 91,500 having been allocated for the work. The Bolnisi Municipality received an ambulance fitted with modern equipment on 13 December. Internal roads remain one of Bolnisi’s unsolved problems. Internal road work started on 8 December. According to the head of the Infrastructure Service of the Bolnisi Municipality, the process will continue in 2015 and 2016.

On 15 December 2014, the Bolnisi City Assembly approved the municipality’s budget defined at GEL 13,960,000. The budget increased by GEL 2 million as compared to the last year. It is noteworthy that local revenues comprise a GEL 13,650,000 share in the 2015 budget whilst the remaining funds were transferred from the central budget. In the 2015 budget, the expenditures for infrastructural rehabilitation increased to GEL 3 million.

It is noteworthy that the municipality’s budget is overwhelmingly composed of revenues generated from local taxes. For example, the central budget contributed only GEL 305 thousand to the Bolnisi Municipality’s 2015 budget. According to the head of the Infrastructure Service of the Bolnisi Municipality, the revenue received by taxing RMG Gold represents a nearly 90% share of the total funds received by the municipality’s budget. It should also be mentioned that a major share of the local population is employed at RMG Gold with their sole incomes coming from the salaries paid to them by the enterprise.

On 17 November 2014, the Bolnisi Municipality created a list of its priorities and the expected results for the 2015-2018 time period. The rehabilitation of roads, water supply systems and infrastructure remains one of the biggest priorities. This once again indicates that the work done and the finances spent by the local self-government are not enough for solving these problems. This situation is the focus of Darejan Chkhetiani’s statement.

There are multiple problems in Bolnisi just as there are in any other region of Georgia. In spite of the positive steps made in 2014 towards the decentralisation of the self-government, funding region-level projects and realising them efficiently remain a problem.

Conclusion Different infrastructural work has been carried out on an annual basis in the Bolnisi Municipality over the last ten years. Two of the most problematic fields for the region are internal roads and a poor water supply system. The gasification process is currently underway in the Bolnisi Municipality. The exact end date for the process is, however, unknown. Revenue received from RMG Gold comprises a crucial part of the municipality’s budget. Nevertheless, the issues of higher financial independence, decentralisation, efficient spending and the implementation of regional projects remain a problem for Bolnisi just like for any other region of Georgia. This is exactly the context of the statement made by Darejan Chkhetiani. Therefore, it is impossible to evaluate the MP’s statement using the true/false gradation. FactCheck refrains from giving a verdict concerning Ms Chkhetiani’s statement.