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"Bakradze, Ugulava - European Georgia" mayoral candidate for Tbilisi, Elene Khoshtaria, has spoken about the possibilities of increasing pensions in Tbilisi (at the expense of cutting bureaucratic expenditures at Tbilisi City Hall) on air on TV Pirveli and underscored specific money saving activities. Ms Khoshtaria stated: “For instance [at Tbilisi City Hall,] fuel expenses have increased eightfold whilst furniture expenses have doubled.”

FactCheck tried to verify the accuracy of the aforementioned statement.

After interviewing the politician to ascertain details of her statement, FactCheck learned that Elene Khoshtaria compared the expenditures of the Tbilisi City Hall budgets for 2015 and 2016.

Fuel and furniture expenses appear under the Goods and Services budget line. According to the Tbilisi budget fulfilment report for 2015, GEL 114,269,500 was spent for purchasing goods and services whilst this figure rose to GEL 126,130,200 in 2016.

According to the Tbilisi budget fulfilment report for 2015, GEL 221,600 was spent to purchase furniture, uniforms and items of personal hygiene. In 2016, these expenses amounted to GEL 565,300. Therefore, the aforementioned expenses have increased 2.5 times as compared to the previous year.

In regard to fuel expenses, the budget fulfilment report does not include separate expenses associated with fuel but groups it with costs of transport, equipment and tools. In 2015, Tbilisi City Hall’s transport expenses reached GEL 2,370,500, whilst this figure increased 2.3 times in 2016 to constitute GEL 5,593,200.

As the budget fulfilment report does not include separate expenses for fuel and furniture, FactCheck requested this information from Tbilisi City Hall.

Tbilisi City Hall provided FactCheck with information about expenses for furniture which was purchased in 2013 and 2015. According to this information, Tbilisi City Hall spent GEL 27,086 to purchase furniture in 2013 and GEL 8,118 to purchase furniture in 2015.

As we have already mentioned, according to the Tbilisi budget fulfilment report for 2015, the total expenses for the budget line for furniture constituted GEL 221,600. As we have seen from the information we received, furniture expenses accounted for only GEL 8,118 which means that GEL 213,482 comprised expenses associated with uniforms and items of personal hygiene in 2015.

According to Tbilisi City Hall’s information, fuel expenses in 2013-2016 are as follows:

Table 1: Tbilisi City Hall’s Fuel Expenses in 2013-2016 (GEL)

2013

2014

2015

2016

Litre

759,359

854,128

699,313

739,700

GEL

1,443,623

1,600,424

1,169,317

1,036,404

As illustrated by the table, fuel expenses in GEL have decreased since 2015. However, the amount of fuel consumed in 2016 increased slightly as compared to the previous year.

Taking into account the fact that Elene Khoshtaria makes an emphasis on Tbilisi City Hall’s administrative expenses in general, FactCheck took interest in Tbilisi City Hall’s administrative expenses as well.

Table 2: Tbilisi City Hall’s Administrative Expenses (GEL)

2015

2016

2017 (Plan)

Labour Remuneration

42,343,500

94,307,200

87,670,200

Goods and Services

114,269,500

126,130,200

126,964,400

Total

156,613,000

220,437,400

214,634,600

As illustrated by the table, the labour remuneration component increased significantly in 2016 as compared to the previous year. According to the budget’s explanatory note, implementation of the treasury reform has resulted in a growth of labour remuneration. Specifically, the labour remuneration fund for non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal  entities and legal entities of public law established by Tbilisi City Hall was now included as a part of Tbilisi City Hall’s total salary fund which was previously not the case.

In regard to expenses for goods and services in 2016, they exceed the figures of 2015 by GEL 11,860,700. Therefore, the increase constitutes 9.4%. In 2017, total administrative expenses have reduced by GEL 17,882,500 (7.6%) as compared to 2016.

Conclusion

According to the Tbilisi budget report for 2016, expenses to purchase furniture, uniforms and items of personal hygiene in 2016 increased 2.5 times whilst expenses for transport, hardware and tools (this includes fuel expenses) has increased 2.3 times.

According to information provided by Tbilisi City Hall itself, furniture expenses were incurred only in 2013 and 2015 with expenditures for furniture dropping almost threefold. Fuel expenses also decreased in 2015-2016.

Of note is that Tbilisi City Hall’s total administrative expenses increased significantly in 2016 as compared to 2015. However, the budget’s explanatory note names the implementation of treasury reform as the reason behind the increase because the labour remuneration fund for non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal entities and legal entities of public law established by Tbilisi City Hall was included as a part of Tbilisi City Hall’s total salary fund which was previously not the case. In regard to 2017, total administrative expenses have decreased as compared to 2016.

FactCheck concludes that Elene Khoshtaria’s statement is MOSTLY FALSE.