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Resume: The figure which Zurab Tchiaberashvili names in his statement as the amount of money which the Prime Minister declared would be disbursed as part of a specific programme is substantially inflated as compared to the actual number. In particular, the government programme provides GEL 535 million for direct monetary compensation for those who lost jobs and not the “billions” as the MP claims.

The volume of the total disbursed compensation also contains a significant flaw. GEL 34 million constitutes compensation disbursed for self-employed people only and it is not the total sum. As of 7 July 2020, a total of GEL 60.5 million was disbursed to hired employees and self-employees together whilst as of 16 July 2020 this volume increased up to GEL 80.9 million. At the same time, it should be mentioned that the compensation distribution process is not over, with only the May and June payments being made, whilst the total compensation (GEL 535 million) needs to be disbursed during the six months of the entire preferential period.

The only accurate part of the MP’s statement is the number of people who have already received their assistance amounting to 115,719 individuals. FactCheck refrains from any discussion as to whether or not the announced compensation volume is sufficient or if the total amount will actually be disbursed by the end of the preferential period and confines itself to an analysis of the current factual circumstances alone.

Analysis

At a session of the Parliament of Georgia, European Georgia Movement for Freedom MP, Zurab Tchiaberashvili, emphasised the issue of compensations to be disbursed to people who lost their employment under the pandemic and stated: “This is 7 July data and GEL 34,715,700 has been disbursed although Gakharia was speaking about billions in his presentations and here we are talking about GEL 34-35 million. Of self-employed people, 188,363 were registered as of 7 July. And even here you imposed big barriers for paying the GEL 300 to people. Only 115,719 people were paid the GEL 300 and this is absolutely not enough to feed a family.”

According to the Government of Georgia’s anti-crisis plan, compensation for people who lost their jobs was divided into two packages and articulated as follows (see FactCheck’s article for more details):

  1. Hired employees who lost jobs or were furloughed are to receive GEL 200 for six months for a total of GEL 1,200. According to the preliminary assessment, nearly 350,000 are to benefit from this assistance at a cost of GEL 460 million from Georgia’s budget.
  2. Self-employed persons are to receive a GEL 300 one-off payment if they produce evidence of losing their job. Plans were to allocate GEL 75 million for this purpose intended to provide assistance to 250,000 people.

Therefore, the Prime Minister did not speak about “billions” in terms of compensation and the total volume of compensation for the entire period was set at GEL 535 million.

In regard to the volume of the already disbursed compensations, this figure is as follows according to the information of the National Employment Support Agency as of 7 July 2020:

  1. In total there were 188,363 self-employed people registered as compensation beneficiaries through the Ministry of Health’s registration portal. Of this amount, 115,719 individuals were disbursed GEL 300 in compensation. In total, GEL 34,715,700 was transferred to beneficiary accounts.
  2. In the case of hired employees, GEL 200 in compensation was disbursed to 129,237 persons. The total amount of transferred money is GEL 25,847,100.

Therefore, a total of GEL 60,563,100 in compensation was already disbursed for both groups as of 7 July 2020.

Of further note is that the aforementioned GEL 535 million is to be disbursed over a six-month period. Therefore, at this stage only part of the compensation has been disbursed and, naturally, the total amount of the compensation will significantly increase in the subsequent period. This is proven by the current trend. In particular, the total amount of disbursed compensation increased by GEL 20,320,600 and reached GEL 80,883,700 in a ten-day period. Among the beneficiaries, 121,525 were self-employed persons who received the GEL 300 compensations for a total of GEL 36,457,500. The total compensation disbursed for hired employees amounted to GEL 44,426,200 (221,131 transfers).

FactCheck refrains from any discussion as to whether or not the announced compensation volume is sufficient or if the total amount will actually be disbursed by the end of the preferential period and confines itself to an analysis of the current factual circumstances alone.