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On 25 November 2015, the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia presented its annual working report before the Parliament of Georgia. The Party of the Refugees expressed certain remarks with respect to the legitimate government of Abkhazia: "Abkhazia’s legitimate government shamelessly lies when it speaks about the liberation of funds at the expense of the abolition of several ministries and directing that money to address medical and social problems.  In the last three years, the budget of the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs of Abkhazia has increased only by GEL 1,431 whilst the expenses of Abkhazia’s legitimate government have increased by GEL 104,403. Instead of GEL 415,000, in fact, GEL 622,000 was liberated and that money was directed to increase administrative expenses and pay the salaries of high-ranking officials."

FactCheck

verified the accuracy of the statement.

In 2015, the total expenses as foreseen in the budget of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia were GEL 13.4 million. Of this amount, GEL 7.8 million was allocated for labour remuneration and GEL 2.5 million was allocated to purchase goods and services. In 2013, the total expenses of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia were GEL 12.6 million. Therefore, in the period of 2013-2015 its budget expenses increased by GEL 807,000.

Table 1:

 Budget Expenses of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia (2013-2015) in GEL

2013 2014 2015 Change
2013-2015
Expenses 12,629,435 13,438,323 13,436,801 807,366
Number of Employees 684 783 633 -51
Labour Remuneration 8,372,755 7,859,155 7,750,580 -622,175
Goods and Services 1,937,169 2,603,748 2,513,775 576,606
Source: 2015 Budget of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia

In 2015, the amount of money allocated for labour remuneration in the budget of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia dropped by GEL 622,000 as compared to 2013 and decreased by GEL 108,600 as compared to 2014. The number of employees also decreased.

Even though the expenses for labour remuneration dropped overall, we will see that labour remuneration and administrative expenses have substantially increased if we look at the expenses according to certain structural units.  This is because some of the structural units in the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia were abolished and the liberated money was transferred to the budget articles as given in the table below.

Table 2:

 Increase in Labour Remuneration and Other Administrative Expenses (2014-2015)in GEL

Expenses Labour Remuneration  Goods and Services
Department of Refugee Affairs 234,005 168,760 65,245
Government Staff 81,610 80,860 750
Supreme Council 45,424 22,150 26,274
In Total 361,039 271,770 92,269
Source: 2015 Budget of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia

In 2015, the largest increase in expenses appeared in the Department of Refugee Affairs, the staff of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and the Supreme Council. In total, the current expenses of these three entities taken together have increased by GEL 361,000. Of this amount, GEL 272,000 was allocated to raise the amount of labour remuneration. Taking into consideration the fact that the number of employees in the aforementioned bodies has not increased, we can conclude that the rise in the expenses allocated for labour remuneration was the result of salary increases.

As we have already mentioned, certain units of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia’s structural organs, such as the Ministry of Special Tasks, Ministry of Regional Administration and the Ministry of Civic Accord and Conflict Resolution, have been abolished. In 2014, GEL 840,000 was allocated to fund these particular entities. Therefore, in total, the amount of liberated money at the expense of these abolished institutions amounted to GEL 840,000.

Table 3: 

Ministries Abolished in 2015 and their Funding in 2014

Abolished Ministries Funding of State Structure
2014 2015
Ministry of Special Tasks 37,470 0
Ministry of Regional Administration 342,542 0
Ministry of Civic Accord and Conflict Resolution 459,946 0
Liberated Money 0 839,958
Source: 2015 Budget of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia

However, in 2014 the new Ministry of Trust Building and Reconciliation was established with the funding for this Ministry having increased from GEL 22.7 thousand to GEL 327.4 thousand. Therefore, taking this fact into account, the net saving from the structural changes was GEL 512.5 thousand.

According to the 2015 budget of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, the largest amount of funding is for the Ministry of Education and Culture, equalling GEL 3.1 million which is 22.4% of the total budget assignments. The Supreme Council and the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia occupy the second and the third positions with GEL 1.8 million and GEL 1.7 million, respectively, which is 12.5% of the total assignments.

In 2015, GEL 1,661,910 was allocated to fund the expenses of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia whilst this amount was GEL 1,557,507 in 2013. Therefore, its expenses increased by GEL 104,403 as compared to 2013. Of note is that 74% (GEL 1.6 million) is allocated for labour remuneration.

The funding for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs is GEL 789,350 in 2015. Of this amount, GEL 781,350 comprises current expenses. In 2013, the funding for this Ministry was GEL 795,275. Of that amount, GEL 782,781 was allocated for current expenses. Therefore, the budget for the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs has decreased by GEL 5,925 over the last three years.

Conclusion

In 2015, GEL 840,000 was saved as a result of the abolition of certain ministries within the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia. Of this amount, GEL 327,000 was allocated to fund the Ministry of Civic Accord and Reconciliation with the remainder of the money redistributed to other structural units.

According to the 2015 budget, the Ministry of Education and Culture (GEL 3.1 million), the Supreme Council (GEL 1.8 million) and the staff of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia (GEL 1.7 million) have the largest budgets. The government’s expenses increased by GEL 104,400 as compared to 2013. In regard to the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, its budget decreased by GEL 5,925 as compared to 2013.

The Department of Refugee Affairs, the staff of the Government of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia and the Supreme Council had the highest increases in their expenses in 2015. In total, the expenses of these units increased by GEL 361,000. Of this amount, expenses for labour remuneration increased by GEL 272,000.Taking into consideration the fact that the number of employees in the aforementioned organs has not increased, we can conclude that the rise in expenses allocated for labour remuneration was caused owing to salary increases.

Therefore, FactCheck concludes that the statement of the Party of the Refugees is TRUE.

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