18:50, Saturday, 05.12.2020
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Citizens left without the government’s assistance


Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

In Gori, Jaba Romelashvili, 29, tried to burn himself because, as he said, he could not find other solution. After being sacked from the working place, he was left without income and does not know whether he will be able to get the six-month state assistance. Jaba lives together with his mother and his salary was the only income for the family. They could not enjoy the benefits on the communal bills either and finally the family was left without electricity supply. 

“I will again reach the point to burn myself because nobody pays attention to me. When I went to the work, they said I was dismissed and the accountant should send a notification to the respective government body to get the support. I do not feel that I am the citizen of this country and that the state supports me,” Jaba Romelashvili said. 

Big part of the employees and self-employed people, like Jaba Romelashvili, cannot get the allowances fixed in the frame of the anti-crisis program of the Government of Georgia. According to the program, the employees dismissed from the working places, which stopped economic activities for the prevention of the spread of the COVID-19, will receive 200 GEL per month during 6 months. As for the self-employed people, the State will assist them with single 300 GEL. According to the anti-crisis plan, those people will receive monthly 200 GEL assistance, who until March 2020 had declared their income; as for the self-employed people, they will need a notification or other verification document from the individual entrepreneurs. 

Giorgi Giunashvili was trading in the vicinities of the bus-station in Gori and in the past few months, he was left without daily income. He cannot get the single 300 GEL assistance from the government either because he was not registered as an individual entrepreneur and cannot prove that he was self-employed.

“I was trading in the street, nearby the bus-station in Gori and I had everyday income. For almost three months I am left without income. I hoped to get at least single 300 GEL assistance but they refused because it was necessary to be registered as an individual entrepreneur; it is not only my problem; nobody is registered. Neither the administration of the bus-station, whom we paid daily fee for trading in their area, issued respective notifications to prove our self-employment,” Giorgi Giunashvili said. 

Considering the abovementioned problem, the lawyers and economists started speaking about the shadow economics in the country and clarify that part of the employees and self-employed people hide their incomes from the state.

“The novel coronavirus has become a litmus paper, which revealed all minuses of our economics and affected the most vulnerable segment of our society – the self-employed people. As for the traders, who paid everyday fees for their activities, [otherwise they could not trade in those areas] they do not have any proof of their self-employment because the administration did not report the State about the real number of counters. It is a ball of thread, which may lead us to the shadow economics, obligations of the administration, which were not fulfilled, as well as the miscarriages in the work of the revenue service because it was easy for them to count the counters,” said economics Tamar Edisherashvili.

HRC lawyer Aleksi Merebashvili said the people, who really need help, are left without assistance. 

“Part of the employers do not show the real number of their employees and does not pay adequate taxes to the state. Besides that, the state fails to accurately register the self-employed people. The pandemic showed that unregistered employees and self-employed people became particularly vulnerable.  The GoG should have presented the anti-crisis plan, which would have excluded the citizens with confirmed employment and would have assisted all the rest,” Merebashvili said.

Although the Government of Georgia is happy with the anti-crisis plan, the opposition and nongovernmental organization evaluate it as a PR-strategy of the authority, which aims to promote the activities of the government during the pre-election period rather than to address the COVID-19 related crisis. 

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