Levan Antadze:“[According to the nine-month budget of the Autonomous Republic (A/R) of Ajara,] you have issues not only with income but also budget utilisation. You have failed to implement nine out of 16 programmes. You have executed less than 50% of your plan.”

Verdict: Levan Antadze’s statement is TRUE.

The 2023 nine-month budget implementation account of the A/R of Ajara reveals that the total mobilised budget income amounted to GEL 389,149.0 thousand, constituting 69.5% of the annual plan. On the other hand, the budget liabilities stood at 53.5%.

The nine-month plan amounted to GEL 389,149 thousand out of GEL 397,954 at 97.95 whilst the liabilities plan reached 77.4% with GEL 321,530 thousand out of GEL 415,631.

The low indicator on the income side is attributed to the failure in implementing the “decreasing non-financial assets” category with only GEL 17,749.4 thousand mobilised, accounting for 22.1% of the annual plan. The A/R of Ajara Ministry of Finance and Economy especially showcased a significant implementation shortfall. The institution’s budget experienced a budget reduction of GEL 21,914.8 thousand. The State Audit Office of Georgia’s nine-month implementation report reads that seven programmes and 16 sub-programmes have an implementation ratio of less than 50% as compared to the plan. FactCheck concludes that Levan Antadze’s statement is TRUE as the politician highlights the low implementation of programmes/sub-programmes.

Analysis:

Levan Antadze, an oppositionist member of the Supreme Council of the A/R of Ajara, stated: “[According to the nine-month budget of the Autonomous Republic (A/R) of Ajara,] you have issues not only with income but also budget utilisation. You have failed to implement nine out of 16 programmes. You have executed less than 50% of your plan.”

FactCheck conducted a study of the changes made in the republic budget law, the nine-month budget implementation report and the State Audit Office of Georgia’s nine-month implementation report of the A/R of Ajara’s budget utilisation account.According to the findings, there is indeed a low implementation of the planned income and liability plans.

Specifically, the republic’s budget income accounted for 69.5% of the annual plan during the first nine months of the year, totalling GEL 389,149.0 thousand. There is a significant shortfall in revenue generated from the decrease of non-financial assets as compared to what was committed in the republic’s budget law, achieving only 22.1% of the annual plan with GEL 17,749.4 thousand mobilised in this component in the first nine months of 2023.

Regarding budget liabilities, the 2023 nine-month implementation indicator stands at 53.5% of the annual plan. Over the first nine months of the year, the republic’s budget balance increased by GEL 67,618.9 thousand, amounting to GEL 113,325.1 thousand by the end of September. The Ministry of Finance and Economy of the A/R of Ajara displayed a particularly low implementation rate. The institution’s budget was reduced by GEL 21,914.8 thousand.

Table 1. 2023 Republic Budget Income, Liabilities and Balance, Data over 9 Months

Title

2023, initial, thousand GEL

2023, current, thousand GEL

2023, 9-month realised value, thousand GEL

Implementation indicator, %

Income

512,549.4

560,189.4

389,149.0

69.5

Liabilities

535,549.4

600,589.4

321,530.1

53.5

Change in balance

-23,000.0

-40,400.0

67,618.9

-167.4

Source: Supreme Council of the A/R of Ajara, State Audit Office Report

Note: The implementation indicator displays the proportion of the realised value to the indicated plan.

Anticipating high expected economic trends, the Government of Adjara revised the initial budget forecast indicators in July. The reassessment of the non-financial asset reduction set the new planned value at GEL 80,415.7 thousand. However, as stated above, the annual plan was only achieved at 22.1%. A similar situation was observed the previous year; see article 1 and article 2 by FactCheck. The State Audit Office of Georgia has highlighted the shortcomings in the planning of the non-financial assets reduction category. The institution had discussed the aforementioned topic in a previously published evaluation. Particularly, the State Audit Office expected a shortfall in executing the planned value as stated in the budget law. Similar to the 2022 budget execution report, the Government of Ajara named the repeated difficulties in implementing announced auctions whilst justifying the shortcomings.

As for expenditures, the implementation rate of seven programs and 16 sub-programmes is below 50% of the indicated plan.

Certain programmes/sub-programmes outlined in the budget have lagged significantly such as the gasification of Mountainous Ajara with less than a 20% implementation rate despite it being of crucial importance for the population. Oppositionist members of the Supreme Council of Ajara questioned whether or not the government was going to take accountability for the low nine-month implementation rate of the budget. Jaba Putkaradze, the Minister of Finance and Economy of the A/R of Ajara, whose institution has the lowest rate of utilising expenditures, explained that the failure was primarily due to the dishonest implementation of contract conditions. Another contributing factor was the numerous tenders that did not take place.


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