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A Major Association of Georgian Businessmen on the Brink of Major Changes

The position of the president of Business Association of Georgia (BAG) became vacant after Giorgi Chirakadze left the position. Currently, BAG’s first vice president, Soso Pkhakadze, will fulfill the BAG President’s duties.

How do BAG members, businessmen, appraise the BAG President’s 10-year performance? Will they back Soso Pkhakadze to become BAG president. and should BAG revise or change approaches?

BAG Vice President Lasha Papashvili explains that, according to BAG statutes, when the BAG president resigns, they are to be replaced by the BAG first Vice President, and Soso Pkhakadze is this person, who was elected by general assembly members for a period of 4 years, in 2017. Therefore, Papashvili explains that Pkhakadze will fulfill the duties of a new president.

In response to the question of whether the supervisory board was convened, and when the new President will officially be approved, Papashvili noted that this was unclear, because Soso Pkhakadze has been elected, not appointed. “He was elected as the first Vice President, and we have an elected president, not an appointed one”, Papashvili said.

The Lukoil Deputy Director General, Shavleg Mishveladze, noted that the BAG formation started 10 years ago, and this process was related to Giorgi Chirakadze and Soso Pkhakadze.

‘As for outcomes, it will not be an exaggeration  to say that the structure that we have shaped unites more than 70 companies, and they make a huge contribution to the financial stability of this country”, Mishveladze said.

In response to the question of whether other candidates may also be discussed regarding the BAG president’s position apart from Soso Pkhakadze, Mishveladze explains that this will be decided together with the supervisory board members. However, this issue has not been discussed, in essence, until  today, he said.

Giorgi Kvaratskhelia, Lilo Mall Director General and member of the BAG supervisory board says that it is unclear whether Soso Pkhakadze will be the next president of BAG. He expects that the BAG supervisory board will be convened to discuss this issue.

As for the 10-year performance of Chirakadze, Lilo Mall Director General Giorgi Kvaratskhelia appraised this positively, and pointed out that the former President places his focus on legislative amendments,  and this is the right way.

“It is not of crucial importance, who is chosen. Pkhakadze is an excellent person, too. All of our members are important. If another candidate is put forward, we will back him”, Kvarastkhelia noted.

Rati Abuladze, a PhD in economics, is the founder of a research academy on electronic governance, and says that BAG should be perceived as an association of successful business organizations, uniting more than 70 companies.

The activities of BAG members deserves some description. They have thus far made a worthy contribution to economic development, public employment, the budget, the development of innovations and technologies, initiating economic and legal reforms, growing investment attractiveness and drawing in investments.

“Modern business world strives to influence government and political life through various mechanisms, including lobbying, contributions to political parties, the involvement of former representatives of executive power with businesses, ownership of media agencies, cooperation with nongovernmental organizations, taking into account the interests of political groups, partnerships with international investors, and their involvement in management. All these factors have an influence on state policy.

The political environment strives to gain support of business world. Therefore, based on the principle of mutual benefit, both government and business circles try to obtain mutual support.

It is evident that the country requires radical changes in the current political reality, and it is natural that each association is perceived as a force. Therefore, following developments in the Georgian business space, it may be said that, through replacing the BAG president and electing a new one, the political reality is moving towards:

  • Enable bodies integrated into the political model to hold leverages on management;
  • Ensure a diversified environment in the business climate;
  • Gain benefits from interaction with business;
  • Maintain and strengthen the business sector’s support.

I would like to stress that, amid the current political and economic realities, all market players, jointly with public and academic sectors, should take tactical steps towards fixing political and economic problems, and prevent fundemental challenges from arising.

Finally, I would like to note that private and international organizations will  expand their opportunities through shaping a new political reality in the country. As a result, all parties will benefit: the private, civil and government sector”, Rati Abuladze noted.

The position of BAG president became vacant after Giorgi Chirakadze resigned. The letter sent to BAG members as well as the BAG official statement indicated that the BAG Vice President Soso Pkhakadze was to replace Giorgi Chirakadze in the position of BAG President.

In turn, the heads of several companies in BAG declared that they are waiting for snap elections.