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The budget of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure for 2020 was GEL 2.071 billion. However, problems emerging as a result of the coronavirus pandemic necessitated a state budget revision. The 2020 anti-crisis budget was set at GEL 15,923,800,000. According to the updated 2020 state budget, the biggest cuts were made in the budget of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure. In particular, the funding was cut by GEL 251.3 million and decreased to GEL 1.820 billion. On 24 June 2020, the Parliament of Georgia adopted the anti-crisis budget with 84 MPs voting in favour.

FactCheck has already written about the state of infrastructure projects amid the pandemic (see FactCheck’s article). However, only the first quarter data of the ongoing year was available at the time of writing. As we know, the state of emergency in Georgia was declared on 21 March 2020 and the impact of the pandemic upon the implementation of infrastructural projects became more clear and evident based on second quarter data. Therefore, in order to assess the implementation of infrastructural projects amid the pandemic, FactCheck analysed the second quarter execution rates of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure’s budget as well as those of separate programmes and projects.

The second quarter spending plan of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure was GEL 774,161,000 whilst the execution figure was GEL 830,378,000. Therefore, the second quarter spending plan of the Ministry was executed by 107.2%.

Table 1: Budget Execution Rates of Certain Infrastructural Programmes Based on 2020 Second Quarter Data (GEL Million)

Programme Name

Plan

Fact

Execution (%)

Improvement of Road Infrastructure

357.916

408.885

114

High-Speed Highway

341.035

391.085

115

Restoration of Sewage Infrastructure

71.616

77.54

108

Restoration of Regional and Municipal Infrastructure

74.205

74.312

100.1

Solid Waste Management

1.33

1.59

119

Rehabilitation of General Education Infrastructure

664

306.592

46.2

Source: Treasury Service

According to the official data, the spending plan for all of the programmes run by the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure was almost fully executed in excess. The only exception is the general education infrastructure rehabilitation programme which significantly lags behind and whose quarterly execution is less than half as compared to the planned amount. The second quarter budget execution performance of investment projects funded by donors through the 2020 state budget, such as the high-speed highway, was as follows:

Table 2: 2020 Second Quarter Budget Execution of Certain Sections of the High-Speed Highway (GEL Million)

Section

Plan

Fact

Execution (%)

Zemo Osiauri-Rikoti

36.291

40.087

110

Batumi New Road

35.339

39.557

112

Samtredia-Grigoleti

34.485

34.408

99.7

Chumateleti-Khevi

5.12

4.604

89.9

Khevi-Ubisa

33.845

53.027

156.7

Ubisa-Shorapani

52.62

52.484

99.7

Shorapani-Argveta

102.773

124.068

120.7

Kvesheti-Kobi

19.765

21.294

107.7

Zestaponi-Kutaisi-Argveta

4.262

4.252

99.7

Source: Treasury Service

As the data show, the budgets for the construction of active sections of the high-speed highway are mostly executed in excess and only a few sections marginally lag behind.

When discussing the budget of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, it is also important to consider the Regional Development Fund and the Mountain Settlement Development Fund’s budget execution figures:

Table 3: 2020 Second Quarter Budget Execution Rate of the Regional Development Fund and the Mountain Settlement Fund (GEL Million)

Fund

Plan

Fact

Execution Rate (%)

Regional Development Fund

119.268

109.746

92.01

Mountain Settlement Development Fund

5.005

2.455

49.05

Source: Treasury Service

According to the table, both funds are lagging behind in terms of budget execution whilst the Mountain Settlement Development Fund’s execution rate is less than half.

To summarise we can say that the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure executed the second quarter budget spending plan in excess amid the pandemic (as mentioned previously, the Parliament of Georgia adopted the anti-crisis budget on 24 June 2020; therefore, the changes in the Ministry’s budget were not reflected in the second quarter). FactCheck only welcomes this fact although the memories of previous years, when large infrastructural projects (the construction of certain sections of the high-speed highway, especially the still unfinished Samtredia-Grigoleti section) were delayed and project completion deadlines were often violated, are still fresh (see article 1 and article 2). The high-speed highway’s final completion deadline has changed several times and was postponed to 2022 from the initially announced 2020.


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