TBILISI, DFWatch — About 200 local and foreign businesspeople Friday gathered to meet with the winner of the parliamentary election in Georgia.
Bidzina Ivanishvili met them in order to talk about important issues and problems in their field, including the necessity of having freedom of business and the inviolability of property rights. He promised that no official will intervene in the activity of business and that it is important to review the legislation in this field, inviting the guests to engage in this process.
The coalition leader told journalists before the meeting that he hasn’t come to punish anyone.
“I want to get introduced with all businessman and help them to solve problems. If there is a need for it, I will use of my own capital to help Georgian business to develop,” he said.
Bidzina Ivanishivli asked the businessmen to stand up to monopolies and cartels. He said he will fight this trend through legislation.
There are a number of monopolies in the Georgian market nowadays. The petrol market is one of the most significant among them, where price fixing is the order of the day, creating problems for customers.
One of the guests at the meeting told Ivanishivli that medium sized businesses need help more than others, as they have been subject to harassment for years.
After the meeting Ivanishivli said he gave a guarantee to businessmen that he will do everything in his power so that private property and business will be protected. He also promised that no one will ever dare to harass them.
“This should become grounds to develop business in Georgia for real, also for economic growth and to fight against that problem called unemployment.”
The coalition leader said his new government will set up an anti-monopoly committee and won’t let the current situation continue, when the economy is managed by monopolies and cartel agreements.
He also remarked that they will prevent that kind of friendly relation among business and government, which currently took place. The tycoon says his government won’t be a friend of business, but should listen to it.
“The further government will be from business, the better.”
Agriculture will be a priority. Supporting agriculture was part of Bidzina Ivanishvili team’s election program. During rallies in many regions he promised people that if he came to power he will assist agriculture and even set up a one billion fund to support it.
Another priority will be to set up small and medium sized industries, including milk and meat processing.
Business should find out for itself what will be a priority to invest money in, Ivanishvili said, adding that he doesn’t have a specific formula, but will try to find appropriate spheres for investments together with scientific advisors.
The Georgian Dream coalition leader also spoke about the importance of reviewing the current Labor Code, in order to improve it and put Georgian business and economy on a better path.
The code was amended in 2006 to make it more liberal. It reduced the obligations of employers and gave few rights to employees. As a result, Georgia faced many political firings, because the code gives an employer the authority to fire personnel any time without explanation. But the code has other problems too, as pointed out by trade unions and rights groups.
At the meeting there were representatives of large Georgian companies like petrol company Wissol, mineral water of Borjomi, Bank of Georgia, Rico Credit, Bank Republic, GMG group, Pharmaceutical company Aversi, and others.