Georgia abolishes ministry of sport and two others
Georgia's Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze has announced changes planned for the cabinet as part of his plan to reduce administrative costs in the state bureaucracy.
The Ministry of Culture and Sport will be merged with the Ministry of Education and Science. The Ministry of Corrections will come under the auspices of the Ministry of Justice.
The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons will be abolished, and integrated into the ministries of regional development and infrastructure, internal affairs and health.
The Agency of Religion will be merged with the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality. The spatial development unit under the Ministry of Economy will be merged with the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure.
"I am sure that through these changes, we will start implementing the concept of small government which is in the interest of our people. Government spending is going to be diminished alongside the structural changes and step by step reach 3.9% of the GDP, which is the ceiling we are aiming for," Agenda.ge cited Bakhtadze as saying.
Thus, the number of ministries will be reduced to 11 from 14: 10 ministries and 1 state minister office.
The head of the Institute of Management Strategy, Petre Mamradze, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that a new reduction of the government was inevitable in connection with the country's small budget. "The Ministry of Corrections was a fiction from the very beginning, it was created by Saakashvili and his accomplices to write off their crimes. As for the Ministry of Culture, it is enough to look at finances allocated this year in Georgia to support culture, sports, education and science - there are so few of them that there is no need in two ministries," he stressed.
"The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons has been a dummy variable for many years. It was created at the request of the UN Commissioner for Refugees to please our Western partners. So it was a right decision to abolish these ministries and distribute their functions among the working entities. It should be added that it would be worthwhile to separate the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Agriculture, because the Department of the Environment is subordinate to the structures it has to control. Another problem is that every time the government cuts down the government, after a while we learn that the staff of the executive branch increases," Mamradze said.
A member of the ‘Expert Club of Georgia’ Vakhtang Maisaya, in turn, considers the reduction of the government announced by Bakhtadze an attempt to save budget funds. "They want to subordinate the system of prisons to the Ministry of Justice and thus unite all relevant structures. As for the distribution of the Ministry of Refugees' functions to three different agencies, the government is trying to save 150 million lari to optimize its structures. The merger of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Science also aims at optimizing budgetary funds," he said.
"Time will show, but so far we see only a mechanical unification of the executive branch structures, and I do not think that this is an effective step to optimize budget expenditures. In my opinion, the new government only wants to show society that it will save the people's money on the merger of agencies. That is, the move is of political nature," Vakhtang Maisaya believes.