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On 27 November 2015, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, stated: “The budget of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia amounted to GEL 25 million in 2012. This shows how Mr Saakashvili and his government ‘took care’ of the IDPs. The budget will be equal to GEL 85 million next year.”

The former Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, Koba Subeliani, made a different statement about the same issue: “The budget of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia has always varied from GEL 70 to 75 million. We have even reached the benchmark of GEL 90 million. You, on the other hand, have never reached a GEL 90 million benchmark and are frozen at GEL 70 million.”

FactChecktook interest in the accuracy of these statements.

We checked the budgets of the aforementioned Ministry by year from 2006 (factual data) to the 2016 budget plan.

Year Budget GEL Million Remuneration Goods and Services Non-Financial Assets
2006 59.2 3% 28% 7%
2007 65 5 3% 31% 2%
2008 121.7 2% 18% 1%
2009 66.7 4% 36% 27%
2010 41.7 6% 64% 2%
2011 44.4 5% 56% 9%
2012 37.4 6% 40% 6%
2013 47.2 6% 20% 10%
2014 49.3 9% 10% 41%
2015 70 6% = 66%
2016 85 3% = 62%

As the table makes clear, from 2006 to the plan of 2016, the budget of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia was the smallest in 2012 and amounted to GEL 37 million whilst it hit its peak in 2008 with GEL 121 million due to the Russia-Georgia war. According to the 2016 state budget plan, the budget of the Ministry is set at GEL 85 million.

During the office of the previous government, the budget of the Ministry was at its lowest from 2010 to 2012, varying from GEL 37 million to GEL 44 million, whilst it was at its peak in 2008 and amounted to GEL 121 million as pointed out earlier. During the office of the Georgian Dream coalition, the budget of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia will reach its maximum amount in 2016 with GEL 85 million.

Despite the fact that Irakli Gharibashvili indicated the 2012 Ministry budget data incorrectly, the Minister of Finance of Georgia later explained that the Prime Minister talked about the 2013 budget plan of the United National Movement. This project set the budget of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia at GEL 25 million. It should be noted that the budget plan changes several times over the year and almost always increases. For example, according to the 2010 budget plan, the budget of the Ministry was to be GEL 27.9 million; however, the amendments to the November 2010 budget increased it to GEL 39.6 million.

FactCheckalso took interest in the distribution of the budget money by year and the amounts of money being spent on remuneration, goods and services as well as on non-financial assets. The remuneration part of the budget constituted up to 4% of the total budget from 2006 to 2012. This has gone up to about 6% of the budget from 2012 to 2016. However, it should be noted that the number of employed people in the Ministry has grown by 69% as compared to 2012 which naturally increased the remuneration part of the budget.

The part of the budget for the formulation and management of the State Programme for the Facilitation of Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants used to be up to 10% of the total budget from 2006 to 2012 whilst in the period from 2013 to 2016 this has grown to 13%. The money allocated for the maintenance and the improvement of the living conditions of IDPs was about 44% of the budget during the office of the previous government whilst from 2013 to 2016 this has grown to 86% of the total budget.

From 2006 to 2012, the Ministry spent about 8% of its budget on non-financial assets such as capital projects whilst from 2013 to 2016 the non-financial assets occupy 45% of the Ministry’s budget.

Conclusion

During the office of the previous government, the budget of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia was at its maximum in 2008 with GEL 121 million (due to the Russia-Georgia war) whilst in other years it varied from GEL 36 to 67 million. The annual budget was not GEL 70-75 million. As for 2016, according to the state budget plan of 2016, the budget of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia is set at GEL 85 million.

FactCheckconcludes that Irakli Gharibashvili’s statement isMOSTLY TRUEwhilst Koba Subeliani’s statement isMOSTLY FALSE.