An interview with the head of the Partnership Fund Irakli Kovzanadze
As it is known, one of the main projects that is going to be implemented by the Partnership Fund concerns a giant Neskra HPP. When will the construction work begin?
We started work on this project still half a year ago, and now all the preparations have been completed. In the near future we’ll formalize a contract with a strategic investor – South Korean state company. This is a huge state-owned company, whose assets exceed $ 20 billion with annual turnover of more than 2 billion. It also has a great experience and is one of the so-called “Asian tigers”.
As for the financial side of the issue, the loan is allocated by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development(EBRD), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the South Korean Eximbank. An international tender was also held to identify a company that will directly build the hydroelectric power station. The Italian giant Salini Impregilo won which has built more than 200 hydropower plants worldwide.
Regarding the timing, we already have a scheme , graphs, and we assume that the construction work will begin in late August. Before that, we intend to answer all the questions in connection with the construction, in particular with respect to the environmental aspects of the project. The investment cost of the project amounts to $ 850 million.
At what stage are other projects of the Partnership Fund?
We have completed the construction of Gardabani thermal power plant with a capacity of 230 megawatts. This is one of the major projects we’ve carried out. We also begin construction of a plant producing aircraft parts of composite materials. The project cost is $ 20 million, our partner is the Israeli company that produces components for “Airbus” and “Bombardier”. This project is very important for Georgia, both in terms of job creation and training of our engineers.
We also carried out a project to create a farm growing blue currants. It has already exported almost 95% of the crop, the products are sold in a network of supermarkets “Wal-Mart” in England, moreover, they are exported to Armenia, Sweden and Russia. Demand is very large, so our goal is to increase the plantation up to 120 hectares.
With regard to tourism, this year we have completed the construction of a 5-star hotel “Rixos” in the resort village of Likani, and this year we will start the construction of 6 new hotels, both in the regions and in Tbilisi.
You are also involved in the creation of Export Promotion Agency. When it starts to work?
This is a joint project of the Partnership Fund and the Ministry of Economy. Its goal is to create an agency that will assist in the financing of exports. Structurally, it will be the Fund’s subsidiary but will function independently. In this regard, we are advised by the Italian agency “Sace” and a few days ago, work on the structure of the new institute was completed. We expect that the maximum efficiency of the agency will be reached in about 3 years. The development will be gradual, but the foundation has been laid.