Reshuffle in Georgia's government: three ministries abolished

Reshuffle in Georgia's government: three ministries abolished

Georgia's Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili announced a major reshuffle in the government this morning.

The Ministry of Energy and the natural resources management component of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection will be incorporated into the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development.

First Vice Prime Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili (who has been finance minister to the present) will be appointed Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development to coordinate the work of the economic team.

Giorgi Gakharia, who has been economy minister up until to the present, has become minister of internal affairs. He will be Vice Prime Minister as well.

The Emergency Management Agency of the Interior Ministry and the State Security and Crisis Management Council will be merged to become a new Emergency Management Centre. Head of this newly established agency will be Giorgi Mgebrishvili, who has been the minister of internal affairs to the present.

New Minister of Finance has become Mamuka Bakhtadze, who has been director general of the Georgian Railway LLC, the national railway company of Georgia, to the present. 

The youth affairs component of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs will be merged with the Ministry of Education and Science and will be led by Mikheil Chkhenkeli, who has been deputy to rector of Tbilisi State University to the present.

The sport component of the Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs will be merged with the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection and Mikheil Giorgadze will be the minister. He has been the minister of culture to the present.

The environment component of the Ministry of Environment and Natural Recourses Protection will be merged with the Ministry of Agriculture. Current Agriculture Minister Levan Davitashvili will lead the agency.

The State Minister of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration will be merged with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Current foreign minister Mikheil Janelidze will lead the agency and he will also be Vice Prime Minister.

The State Security Service and the Foreign Intelligence Service will be merged to form one agency.

Kvirikashvili said that all of these changes will be approved at the nearest government meeting after which the new Cabinet will be presented to Parliament for a vote of confidence.

The PM hopes that the reform process will be completed by the end of the year. "The upcoming changes will serve the purpose of greater progress, of shaping an even more modern state and flexible state apparatus which in itself maximally reduces administrative expenses,” Agenda,ge cited Kvirikashvili as saying.

A member of the ‘Expert Club of Georgia’ Vakhtang Maisaya, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that a reduced number of ministries in the Georgian government was due to several reasons. "First of all, the social and economic situation in Georgia has deteriorated, in particular, there was the devaluation of the lari. Second, the previous government was absolutely inefficient," the expert explained.

According to him, in these conditions it was required to solve the issue, doing something more than just a reshuffle.

Speaking about how the current changes will affect Georgia, Maisaya stressed that it is still difficult to talk about it, because now there are not only purely technical changes and rearrangements, but also a subversive political struggle between the factions within the ruling party.

In addition, a member of the ‘Expert Club of Georgia’ admitted that the government will continue its course and may abolish some other ministries.

The head of the Institute of Management Strategy, Petre Mamradze, noted that they needed to reduce the number of ministries in the fall of 2012, when the Georgian Dream came to power. "It's bad that in fact, nothing has been done for so many years, only the apparatus of one state minister has been abolished. But now a healthy attitude to government is demonstrated, which is most likely linked to the strengthening of the Georgian Dream. Better late than never," he said.

"On the other hand, there is no guarantee that the functions will be optimally regulated. It is important not to reduce the posts mechanically, but a qualitative change in the cabinet. We should expect an improvement in the situation from the abolition of the Ministry of Energy. It would also be desirable that the ecology in the country be dealt with by an independent agency," Petre Mamradze stressed.

"If everything is done properly, it will save budget funds and reduce bureaucracy. On the other hand, it should be done carefully, a transition period would be needed so that people can find a new job," the head of the Institute of Management Strategy concluded.