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Economy, Business and Marijuana

Interview with Temur Chkonia

It is not interesting to talk about my business in the New Year period, Georgian businessman Temur Chkonia said. «Nobody is interested in these details. They have much more problems», he said and  appraised the current situation in the country instead.

My activities are related to common topics and problems, Chkonia added.t is not interesting to talk about my business in the New Year period, Georgian businessman Temur Chkonia said. «Nobody is interested in these details. They have much more problems», he said and  appraised the current situation in the country instead.

«Isolated happiness is impossible and only my own happiness does not count… Sales in business sector may grow thanks to hardworking, human and financial investments», Chkonia noted.

I am happy that generations change and the generation of Coca-Cola has grown. This is our victory. People have changed their taste and become world members!, Chkonia said and overviewed current situation in the country.

«Any year is interesting in the life, while in economy every year is very difficult. Every year brings  its own challenges. The earth does not remember the best year ever. Personal life may have bad or good years, while in economy there is no bad or good year!

We have difficult years since the 2012 elections. We still remain in political competition regime. Winner party competes with the loser for six years. Winner party should follow other purposes. It has more obligations compared to the previous regime. Serious economic changes are taking place in the world and if Georgia wants to be integrated into the global economy, then we should remember that visa liberalization does not imply only travel, it implies integration into the global and European systems. The current economic developments in Georgia are interconnected with external factors. For example, Turkey faces economic problems and this factor affects Georgia too. What does the economic might mean? When many reasonable people create export products, but, regretfully, we lack for similar people. We are people infected by Communist set of mind and we only ask Government to rescue us. The 25th year has passed and Georgian business cannot realize we should not wait for government mercy, the businessman noted.

Government should cut expenditures despite painfulness of similar decisions. Number of Ministries should be also reduced.  Economy implies tireless efforts and regretfully, not everybody can win and be happy in this war. Economy strengthens thanks to many smart professionals and exports-oriented business companies, while our country lacks for these components. The time has come that Georgian businessmen reject Soviet state of mind, Temur Chkonia said.

Our economy is heading to the bottom and in this situation Government should cut expenditures. We do not need so many Ministries. Our economy cannot put up with such expenditures in government structures. When business takes costs, we try to optimize expenditures. Sometimes we have to even dismiss workers, regretfully, he added.

Educated Prime Minister governs the country. He noted that it would be good to cut expenditures at Ministries by 10%. And all members of the government grasped this 10%, while the Prime Minister mentioned this figure for sake of only politeness, while there are Ministries that should be abolished entirely, Chkonia noted.

As to state budget, it is not difficult to prepare a bill. The question is who will spend it. This is a genuine problem! We allocated huge financial resources for agriculture sector, but for whom? We do not have farmers and skillful peasants, who would reasonably employ these financial resources, regretfully. What is the wayout? The solution consists in foreign countries! Government was to introduce Estonian model, but they were to invite professionals for implementing this model too. We need top specialists. Georgia may have good specialists with good knowledge, but this knowledge and experience is not sufficient to take the country out of this blind alley. We need Mesi, Ronaldo”, Temur Chkonia noted.

The businessman also commented on privatization of land plots to foreign citizens. “There are discussions about transmitting land plots to foreign citizens in ownership. This is necessary! Foreign citizens should be in Georgia! We need European integration for not only our visits to Europe, but foreign citizens should also arrive in our country and integration implies this process.

As to tourism business, “Sea, nature, mountains, snow, sunlight are everywhere. In 2015 amid Russia-Turkey tensions, we expected that a major part of Russian tourists would arrive in Georgia…. but this is foolishness – Russians will not arrive to lie on mattress for 5 GEL and will not wait for Acharuli Khachapuri for 4 hours. They will not drive from Tbilisi to Kobuleti.

Road infrastructure is wonderful, but cows rest on the road from Lanchkhuti to Kobuleti and they have to waste much time on that. They will be late. There is no flight communication from Batumi to European countries. Only Batumi-Kyiv flights are not sufficient”, Chkonia noted and added that marijuana should be legalized in Georgia.

“Marijuana legalization issue has caused serious discussions. Both supporters and objectors actively defend their positions. Marijuana legalization is possible in Georgia and it should be legalized. This is much inspiration for economic recovery and for attracting tourists”,Temur Chkonia pointed out.

However, legalization procedures should be determined by regulations, the businessman noted.

“This issue should be regulated by the law. There are multiple samples worldwide: Netherlands, California, where marijuana is legal, but nothing terrible happens there. This is very important component for tourism. If we legalize weed, tourists will walk to Georgia without flights”, Chkonia said.

I hope the year of 2017 will record many successful pages in the state economy if government manages to implement announced projects, Chkonia concluded.