Post-COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Georgian Government’s Anti-Crisis Plan
On May 21, ACCESS organized a live discussion on Facebook focusing on post-pandemic recovery and the government’s anti-crisis plan. The discussion featured representatives from leading Georgian think tanks (ISET Policy Institute, PMCG, EPRC) and addressed COVID-19’s impact on the economy, the government’s transparency and accountability as well as its response, and recommendations for the future. Here is a summary of key points:
Among the key challenges are transparency and accountability, increase in unemployment and the risk of protectionism. Firstly, transparency and accountability are difficult to account for since much data is not published and many impacts and costs are not known (e.g. damage to the tourism sector, costs for implementation of the anti-crisis plan). Secondly, since there are no precise procedures to count up-to-date unemployment data in Georgia, the government cannot adequately address the problem. Lastly, under current circumstances, there is an increased risk of lobbyism and protectionism, with businesses applying for not-needed subsidies leading to an unfair redistribution of scarce resources.
Essential recommendations include shifting focus from individuals to businesses to revitalize the economy. Restoring people’s access to the market is of primary importance, as well as having a backup plan in case of second-wave outbreak to avoid another nation-wide lockdown. In order to encourage foreign direct investment, the government should reform its judiciary sector, scale-up education reform and develop the service sector. It has to seize the window of opportunity and increase its competitiveness on the global market capitalizing on its ease of doing business, free trade arrangements and geopolitical location. Georgia should also invest in distance learning as a useful tool during the post-pandemic period to counter the shortcomings of local education system.
The full discussion in Georgian language can be found here.