This report was written by Local Coordinator Liza Katsiashvili.
Georgian Students For Liberty’s latest campaign Defend Your Wallet! is dedicated to raising awareness about taxation and government spending.
Because of low economic development, the Georgian government should refrain from high taxation and interference with the market. Unfortunately, the budget for 2017 doesn’t show any signs of restraint.
The Georgian Students for Liberty team decided to launch this campaign in order to inform people about expedient government spending. On February 3rd, a second panel discussion took place, titled “How is your money being spent?” with Zurab Tchiaberashvili (a politician), Irakli Kiknavelidze and Salome Ugulava (both journalists) as speakers.
Mr. Zurab Tchiaberashvili discussed several important problems, which are and will continue to be a threat to the Georgian economy if the government does not change its attitude towards spending. The healthcare program, for example, does not work properly for vulnerable groups, damages the private sector, and the quality of its service poses a huge problem for the country. Second, Georgia has an enourmous amount of ministries, governmental agencies and is simply taunted by bureaucracy. Of course it is hard not to mention increased taxes and inflation in this context. According to the speaker, one should always ask him/herself the following questions:
1. Is government spending directed towards a real problem?
2. If yes, is the amount of money spent regarding this problem relevant?
After this interesting speech, Irakli Kiknavelidze and Salome Ugulava presented their new project: A website where all the information about government expenditure will be collected in one place. The audience discovered that the data and information about budgets, taxation, governmental projects and spending is available, but because of the huge database and uncomfortable documentation, citizens do not seem to pay much attention to these issues. The mission of Kiknavelidze’s website will be to simplify the process of obtaining information about the topics mentioned above, and to inform Georgian citizens clearly of how their money is spent.
To sum up, the panel discussion turned out to be a real success. We are looking forward to another 4 panel discussions on the most urgent issues in Georgia, planned for the near future. We hope that together we can achieve our goals and somehow enthuse the Georgian population to stand for its rights and freedoms.
Liza Katsiashvili is a student of Business Administration at the Agricultural University of Georgia. She has been an ESFL local coordinator in Georgia since August 2016, and focusses on urgent problems in Georgia such as economic development, drug policy, Russian occupation, and human rights.
This piece solely expresses the opinion of the author and not necessarily the organization as a whole. European Students For Liberty is committed to facilitating a broad dialogue for liberty, representing a variety of opinions. If you’re a student interested in presenting your perspective on this blog, please contact [email protected] for more information.