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International Chamber of Commerce: Business does not Trust the Government

Investment climate in Georgia still leaves much to be desired – President of the International Chamber of Commerce Fadi Asli states  “Commersant”.

According to him, this is not only due to the fact that the Georgian Parliament adopts legislation unfriendly to business, but also because of the difficult situation in the region – in particular, the events in Ukraine and around Karabakh that scare investors, as Georgia is considered as part of the region, and everything that happens there has an impact on the country.

“It will be a difficult period for the country, including in 2015. The government and the private sector must unite in order to attract investors and to protect their interests. In the first place the government should carry out  a reform of the tax system, which is a major obstacle for investors. In particular, it is necessary to take measures to mitigate the  activities of the Tax Service in order they  not to scare businessmen. They are often afraid of hostile actions from  the tax authorities, “- Fadi Asli notes.

In his words, some government officials know  business, some do not, so those who do not understand, need to learn how to make decisions with respect to the business.

“The worst decision was taken by the government recently, in particular, a tightening of visa regulations. A country like Georgia cannot afford the adoption of such laws because they violate partnership with entrepreneurs that will have an extremely negative impact on both the business and the economy. Before taking this or that law, the government must consider all the possible consequences, in particular, how it will affect the country’s economy. Unfortunately, no one thinks about this. It should also be noted that this law was not a requirement of the European Union, this is purely Georgian creative. This law is very bad for business that has already had an effect on the economy which means that the country loses its competitive advantage. I do not see any benefits of the new visa regime, and I do not understand why it is so important for Georgia. Or the government is going to sabotage? Against whom? Against themselves? “- asks  Fadi Asli.

At the same time, he notes that in September consumer index fell sharply in Georgia  and the reason for this is the uncertainty of the population that does not trust the government.

“We must work together with the Government, have a constant dialogue. In the country there are positive changes, and we must increase them, but to carry out public infrastructure projects is not enough for the economic development of the country. Investments should be performed by privatebusiness, but it doesn’t   trust the government and does not want to expand, “- said the head of the Business Chamber.

According to him, there are some sectors that attract large investments in the country  – for example, energy and hotel business.

“The government should seek contacts with business associations, to conduct a dialogue with them, and think how to go forward. Otherwise, 2015 will be very difficult, “- Fadi Asli adds.