Speeches & Statements

The President of Georgia addressed the population of Gldani

First of all, I would like to thank you for this meeting.

I come here often, including to your district, and as you know I always come without media.

I came with the media this time, as whatever we say here we would like the rest of Georgia to hear as well.

Firstly, I would like to tell you that yesterday was an important day for me, as we started the fulfillment of a specific promise yesterday – the distribution of insurance policies began yesterday, based on which every child below 5, every student and every person above 60 will have their treatment costs reimbursed.

I visited the place where the policies are being issued this morning, while in the evening I met a few hundred doctors, also without media whatsoever.

They told me how effective it is to receive service with insurance and how much is reimbursed with its help.

We do not want these new hospitals for foreigners to go there for treatment. These are for Georgians, so that everyone has a dignified life and adequate social conditions.

Some say that this is foolish and it will not work, but since the day you elected me as president, to date, we have increased the number of insured by 100 fold. These are yesterday’s data.

We now need to double this figure, and all of Georgia will be insured.

Certainly, we will do this in the upcoming months and years, so that even a single person is not left hopeless.

We have an ambitious program and I wanted to talk to you precisely about this program, but before that I will tell you why we believe that we will fulfill this program.

Now, I would like to touch upon an important theme – there were extensive debates held in England’s Parliament about Georgia’s Public Halls. Their parliamentarians did not even know where Georgia was 7-8 years ago.

They were seriously criticizing one of their Ministers and were asking to share Georgia’s experience with the UK citizens.

This minister had even made excuses that he had himself visited and had seen the public halls, but commented that their implementation in the UK is not a simple task.

Actually, why is it not a simple task, when compared to us, they have hundreds of times more income.

Before that the US Secretary of State, one of the greatest leaders, talked about our public halls.

We often criticize the penitentiary system and of course no one likes to have a prisoner in their family.

I want to say, the employees of the Ministry of Justice of France, employees of prisons, are undergoing an extraordinary training and are being taught the management of prisons in the Georgian detention facilities before they are assigned to these positions.

I do not advertise this, but it is a fact. The French are studying from us about how to manage prisons.

I am not saying anything about the Ukrainians. Medvedev had slipped twice in a week that they need to transpose the Georgian reforms.

It is a miracle that this is happening.

On the other hand, it is a miracle that 7-8 years ago, when as a chairman of the city council I would visit districts, including these, I would be told that criminality had increased in the country.

You would tell me that murderers were walking around unpunished and that some people were getting robbed.

You would tell me that there were no roads in any direction; that lots of places had a rationed water supply in the 21st century. 

You would tell me that there was no electricity and that Gldani was like an island, because there was such a road that it was basically located on a different continent.

We have forgotten all of it today.

I only remind you of this so that you see the progress. We do not rebuke anyone either for electricity, gas, roads or anything else, especially the order.

We are the safest and the most uncorrupt country according to the EU studies.

If we have managed to be the most uncorrupt, the safest and an exemplary country, including for England and France, then we have to manage to solve the big objectives which we face.

Our main objective is not to have unemployment and lack of income.

We have big objectives and we have to manage to solve them. We are already heading towards this goal. The principal thing now is to overcome unemployment, so that people have income.

I know it best that we neither live in Singapore, Hong-Kong, England or France and in fact, we are behind some of the post soviet countries in terms of income. Yet, in terms of the economic growth trend, I believe we have already surpassed them.

It is good if a good road leads to a building, if we have nice squares and attractions for children, but it is not the main thing.

Despite the successes, what matters to everyone is what they have on the table, when a child wakes, how well dressed does he go to school, how does he return and what prospects does a country give him; the main thing is for him to have a job and to be able to go to work in the morning. The main thing is for a person who has lost his income at the age of 50, not to have a feeling that life has ended.

We will have a 100 USD pension package from next year for the people over 60. This year, people over 65 will already have a 140 GEL pension package and health insurance.

But what should a 58 year old person do, who neither has a job, nor insurance, who does not fall into the category of the socially vulnerable and is living on an occasional income?

You will hear often from our opponents that we gave “yet another promise” to people, but our promises are always kept.

There is a new technical college being built nearby and I monitor it regularly. It is due to finish in September.

There have been several such technical colleges built and believe me, 80 percent of the people who had trainings there find jobs within a month. This is an exact figure. We do not have smiths and we need specialists of high qualification.

This technical college and the new Ministry as well, serve a very simple thing – to see where the vacancies are, whether a specialist meets the modern criteria or not – train them, adapt and “hand over” to the employer.

Thus, we have to create an Employers’ Bank.

Me and Vano Merabishvili were counting the other day and discovered that there are about 6000 available jobs in Tbilisi. As there is no connection between the employer and employee, people are unemployed. Our duty is to facilitate a connection between them.

 As you know, we are introducing the universal insurance system so that the entire population is insured.

Likewise, we are developing agriculture – there should be no uncultivated land left in Georgia. We are a country of few lands, 20 percent of which is occupied.

90 thousand hectares of land has to be irrigated and cultivated. We have ordered an additional 2 thousand tractors for this purpose.

This is what will be stipulated in these contracts.

 I have talked to you about the public halls, where a person receives any service in a shortest time, but I was in Batumi yesterday and saw that there was a huge queue of pensioners at the bank.

The bank employee, who sits in the air-conditioned room, told me: not everyone should be coming on one day.

Everyone came on one day, as they are waiting for their pennies for the whole month; as they have received their electricity bill the day before…

We should have a situation that we have at the Public Halls everywhere, the service system of which surprise English as well as French; bank is linked to the state too, as pensioners receive a state pension. We will surely achieve this.

There are no officials around me who look down on people, as it is not acceptable with us. We all have equal rights in the government.

No official has a right here, but problems still remain on different levels. That is why my objective is to have every service in Georgia, which will amaze even the Chamber of Lords of England.

 A few more months and every department, starting from those here to the smallest ones, will have people meeting you with smile.

A person should be oriented to not have a problem at all – never mind the problem, they should deliver the pensions and an increased one too, to homes.

In fact, I have already issued a regulation to register those people, who go to bank to get their pensions on the first day and starting from next month to deliver pensions to their homes to most of them.

Those, who try to get pensions on the first day, are in need of this money the most. I know how great of a poverty is still here in Georgia.

One thing that keeps me alive is that we tackled the absolutely unbelievable problems 7-8 years ago and we are coping with everything.

In fact, what you have in this contract is a “road for every village”, “gas for every village”, “ambulatory for every village”, “tractor for every village” – it all has been realized, has not it?

They often say that there was gas and electricity too during the Soviet Union; we had salaries, schools and healthcare as well…

Let us face it, the place was called Tskaltubo and it had no water system – there was no water at all; there was no water system either in Batumi, Sokhumi or Kutaisi…

You perhaps remember what kind of water supply there was in this district. I lived in Mukhiani myself, and remember what schedule we had – 3 hours per day…

We have brought gas to more than 70 percent of places for the past three years across Georgia than there ever was during the Soviet Union. Neither Batumi, nor Poti, or the entire Samegrelo and most of the villages had any gas.

 There was no gas in many places here as well, and we had to buy the liquefied gas through tankers.

In fact, we have introduced a new system now, and we are bringing gas to homes now for the price of one tanker.

Certainly, there are many issues, which require a lot of work, but there is nothing that cannot be fixed.

 We have no way back. We can only move forward.

This is what this contract serves, and both I and the Prime Minister are the signatories of it.

I would like to tell you that Vano Merabishvili is an independent figure, and the decision to appoint him as a Prime Minister was made precisely because he led the previous spheres very efficiently.

I would also like to touch upon today’s tragedy. Sadly, there was a horrific road accident on the Kutaisi highway and few people have died. I would like to call on everyone to be more careful – be very careful while moving on the road.

About 900 people died annually for the past three years as a result of car accidents, this figure has declined gradually and last year about 600 people died, who basically lost their lives for nothing. We are enhancing the rules and are introducing additional regulations as well.

Georgia has no person and no life to lose, especially due to car accidents. People should die here neither as a result of criminals, nor as the result of poverty, lack of salary, lack of prospect, hopelessness and homelessness.

Here, I have two objects under supervision – this is the technical college, which is to open in September and we will start training of few thousand people right away, and the swimming complex.

We are inviting the best specialists from the U.S., Europe and neighboring countries to the technical college, so that we share their experience and do everything better, which we will surely accomplish.

When I became a president, there were no swimming pools in Georgia at all. Then Kakha Bendukidze opened one, but it was very expensive, and again, the privileged people could go there.

Now, if a student is successful and studies well, he will go to this modern swimming complex near his home absolutely for free.  

There should be such a social infrastructure here so that no one would want to go anywhere away from here.

Thus, the main thing is what is written in this contract. We should not be happy for having water in the faucet, but rather we should be happy for having a job, good income, good prospects and a secured future for ourselves, our children and our families.

This is a much greater of challenge and I hope that we will tackle these challenges together.

Thank you.   

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