TBILISI, DFWatch – The government has promised to increase pensions and to provide state insurance for the pensioners, but hasn’t set aside money for it in the budget.

Parliament demanded that the budget made room for these promises.

“Within the bill’s assignments framework there should be foreseen finances for the further increase of the pensions. All pensioners should be insured,” it’s written in parliament’s remarks about the decision.

Later, the has government has confirmed a number of times that the promise would be kept, last by prime minister Nika Gilauri yesterday at a meeting with the president.

“We have the resources to amend the social assistance after September 1, 2012, including to provide insurance for all pensioners,” Gilauri stated.

But in order to implement this it is necessary for next year’s budget to reflect the increased spending.

Since the plan was introduced it has been discussed by parliament one time already, and it is now in its second round of debate.

In the revised 2012 budget of November 4, the government confirmed that the promise will be kept.

“The Georgian government is working on social reform to increase pensions and pensioners’ insurance. Appropriate financial resources will be reflected in the budget only after the reform has been developed,” the government’s revised budget proposal reads.

The prime minister yesterday claimed that the increased spending is already included in the budget.

“The most important change which will be reflected in the 2012 budget is the pensions and insurance issue, which we announced yesterday. Specifically, since September 1, 2012 all pensioners will be given insurance vouchers. It will be 15 Georgian lari basic vouchers, but as a result of the tender and auction it is possible for the price to decrease. The mentioned price contains a number of services, including medical consultation, different types of analyses, 20-80% shared-financing of the operations, limitless financing of the particular operations and so on.”

“The cumulative pension package will be 140 lari for pensioners above 67 years. It will include 15 lari insurance vouchers and as for the 125 lari, they will receive it in cash. In my opinion, it’s a very important reform, because the pensioners are a part of society which is not able to get insurance, due to a lack of money,” Gilauri stated.

Experts and the opposition are very critical to how the government is handling this issue.

“It’s a fact that the government was not going to keep this promise and is not even planning to implement it. It seems that the Ivanishvili factor had an effect so that they give promise after promise which will remain just as promises, and that’s why it takes so long for the budget to reflect it,” Gia Tsagareishvili, representative of the Free Democrats and parliament’s fraction for Unity for Justice, says.

The only comment the government makes about this issue is that it will without doubt be reflected in the project, but nobody knows when. The prime minister only says that the government will once more review this issue and only after that will it make the appropriate budgetary adjustments.