Caucasus Business Week #167

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October 31, 2016 #167

October 31, 2016, Issue 167 -

Econo-mix Georgian Dream MP Proposes to Restore Forcible Expulsion Practice

Bank TBC Bank Becomes the Owner of Kopenbur Insurance Company Pg. 4

Pg. 10

PR Bureaucratic Details Generate Much Discomfort in Working Process Pg. 8

Will Chinese Investments Rescue Abandoned Tea Industry in Georgia

Current Indicators of the Living Costs are Deceptive The standard of living is one of the key indicators of a country’s social and economic development. The exploration and analysis of the living costs is a relevant issue in both developed and developing economies. Currently, according to Geostat, the national statistics service of Georgia reveals that the living costs of an able-bodied male is 157.30 GEL, while for an average family, it is 263.9 GEL. As to family categories, living costs of a one-member family is 139 GEL, a two-member family – 222.9 GEL and a three-member family – 250.8 GEL. Moreover, the cost of living of a four-member family is 278 GEL and a five-member family – 313 GEL. Families with six or more members require 370 GEL. Naturally, these living-cost indicators encounter criticism as these amounts are insufficient for a comfortable life. Pg. 7

Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC will fund the development of Goderdzi Alpine Garden with USD 100,000 Batumi Botanical Garden and Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC (AGL) signed an agreement in which AGL would fund the development of the Goderdzi Alpine Garden with a grant of USD 100,000, on October 19th. The grant will be used

Pg. 8

to construct a solar energy system and parking area in the garden, build and equip a temporary administration building for the staff, arrange picnic areas and nature paths, install a septic and sewage system, construct eco toilets and a ticket box, design and print informational signs, maps, and leaflets, and develop beekeeping at the garden through the construction of a beekeepers’ house and the installation of beehives. Construction and development of the Alpine Garden began with the support of Alliances Lesser Caucasus Programme, a market development program implemented by Mercy Corps Georgia and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Pg. 5


NEWSROOM EU offers €30m to support Georgia’s governance reform Georgia is striving to build European governance in the country where the Government and society will together be involved in major decisionmaking processes.

Georgia joins Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Since joining CAREC, Georgia will be able to take advantage of regional technical assistance and grant projects and have access to finances for projects of regional importance that support rebuilding transit routes.


2 Billion USD will be invested for Enlargement of South Caucasian Pipelines In the frame of the project, the amount of gas received from Azerbaijan will significantly increase.

Azerbaijan may Export up to 700 Million MW through Georgia Electricity export from Azerbaijan via the Azerbaijan-GeorgiaTurkey energy bridge may reach 700 million megawatts, said Azerbaijani Energy Minister Natig Aliyev in his article published by the official press.


Bank of Georgia Attracts 50 million USD Financial Resource The latter participates in financial component and ensures partial guarantee support through its GTFP. This is the third financial component attracted by efforts of Citi through drawing several international investors in syndication process.

Current Tendencies Of Bank Deposits The total volume of non-bank deposits in the country’s banking sector decreased by 2.4 percent, or by 346.3 million GEL, compared to September 1, 2016 and constituted 14.9 billion GEL by October 1, 2016.


Fruits Processing and Production of Fruit Spread To Be Launched The company will purchase special machineries in January 2017 and production will start in 2017. Fruit spread will be exported to Russia. The project’s investment value is 1.4 million USD.

Georgian Viticulture Studies Open in Poland Wine Academy of Poland will teach Georgian viticulture and winemaking history as part of memorandum that was signed by National Wine Agency of Ministry of Agriculture of Georgia and Galicja Vitis, Viticulture-Winemaking Development Foundation of Poland.


TeliaSonera to Withdraw from Georgia in 2017 TeliaSOnera wrote in midterim report of September 2016 that TeliaSonera Fintur Holdings shares are in the process of differentiation and this is part of reduction of representation in Eurasia Region, its announced plan.

Doing Business report: Georgia among top global reformers


eorgia’s reputation as a business friendly country is growing after receiving top marks from the World Bank in its latest Doing Business Index. The Doing Business Index is a World Bank Group flagship report that investigates the regulations that enhance business activities and those that constrain it. The latest report showed Georgia was among the top global improvers for implementing business friendly reforms. Georgia received a ranking of 16 among 190 economies in the Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All report, released yesterday. Georgia improved its position by seven points – from 23rd position to 16th. This is very important for the country as Georgia is now included among world leading countries,” said Georgia’s Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. “[Being] promoted by seven points in one year is a very serious jump for the country, which will be

important for any investors who think about investing in Georgia,” he added. This year Georgia also showed an improvement in the distance to frontier score of 2.48 percentage points; currently 80.20 percent compared to 77.72 percent the previous year. In the region Georgia ranked third, with former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia being the region’s highest ranked economy, followed by Latvia. Georgia was also among the top 10 global improvers for implementing reforms to their business regulations. Over the course of the last year Georgia implemented five reforms in the following areas: Getting Electricity Registering Property Protecting Minority Investors Trading Across Borders Paying Taxes With positive reforms implemented in five topic areas measured by the Doing Business report, Georgia’s upward movement

is commendable. The country continues to be among the top reformers, accelerating inclusive and sustainable economic growth and fostering resilience to global shocks,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Regional Director to the South Caucasus. For the first time this year the report also included a gender dimension in three indicators: Starting a Business, Registering Property and Enforcing Contracts. The report found in Georgia women had the same opportunities and could start a business just as easily as men could. The report also included an expansion to the Paying Taxes indicator, which now covered post-filing processes, such as tax audits and VAT refunds. Georgia performs well in these areas. For example, it takes about two hours to comply with a corporate income tax audit, compared to about nine hours on average for the rest of the region,” said the report.

Georgia offers electronic accreditation system to diplomats


eorgia has launched an innovative, high technological and easily operable programme-based tool for accreditation to members of diplomatic corps in the country. The Georgian Foreign Ministry introduced New Digital Software of Diplomatic Accreditation as part of the state’s efforts to develop e-services in Georiga. The software ensured better efficiency of diplomat accreditation, including timelines, digital processing, incorporation with other existing databases, and also security of provided and managed data. It’s a priority of the Georgian Government to implement as much electronic governance and electronic services as possible that will ensure the efficiency of public services in the country,” Foreign Minister Mikheil Janelidze said when he presented the new


The Editorial Board Follows Press Freedom Principles Publisher: LLC Caucasian Business Week - CBW Address: Aleksidze Street 12 Director: Levan Beglarishvili WWW.CBW.GE

October 31, 2016 #167

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system. The Minister stressed Georgia had greatly advanced recently in this field and he mentioned the country was praised as one of the leaders of e-governance development in the world at a United Nations high level meeting earlier this year. In addition to the new software, new type of accreditation cards were issued that had special features that significantly reduced their potential to be copied or counterfeit. The New Digital Software of Diplomatic Accreditation was the result of joint efforts of the Diplomatic Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia and the Public Service Development Agency of the Ministry of Justice of Georgia with support from Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). <<

Wild Plumb, Racha Ham, Kharagaruli Amanita Caesarea and Choporti Tomato Included in List of Potential Geographical Indications


Distribution Network to See Brown Sugar and Himalaya Salt Packed in Georgia in November


Krtsanisi Former Government Parking Lot for Sale


Co-investment Fund Enlarges Planta Greenhouse Complex


Georgia Among Top Global Improvers, Says Latest Doing Business Report

Editor: Nutsa Galumashvili. Mobile phone: 595 380382 Reporters: Medea Samkharadze; Mariam Kopaliani; Merab Janiashvili Designer illustrator: Ilia Chrelashvili. Technical Assistant: Giorgi Kheladze


October 31, 2016 #167





Throwback to the Past

Irakli Gaprindashvili Managing partner for GLCC legal company

Georgian Dream MP Proposes to Restore Forcible Expulsion Practice

Due to GLCC Efforts the Court made Significant Decision


Merab Janiashvili Economic Analyst

It should be noted that in all European countries and in any developed countries of the world, nobody is authorized to expel anybody from residential space without court decision


arliament of Georgia of the new convocation may restore forcible expulsion practice. Georgian Dream majoritarian MP candidate Ilia Tsulaia has already proposed this initiative. The adopted legislation should be optimized to protect both business and property owners from problems, he said. In response to the question whether forcible expulsion practice suspension had brought negative outcomes or not, Tsulaia pointed out that he had no information from the banking sector, but no negative results had been registered in the development sector. I just mean that rights of property owners should be protected, he noted. If I am elected, I will put forward this initiative to revise the law and any issues that will create barriers to business should be revised, Tsulaia noted. The law and its accompanying processes should be examined jointly with other MPs in the corresponding committee and the legislation should be optimized, Tsulaia said. “In general, any issue that creates additional bureaucratic barriers are incorrect. As to this specific case, rights of property owners must be protected, when the property lessee does not pay leasing fee. In this case the property owner’s rights are restricted and they cannot make insolvent clients timely leave the leased space. Dishonest lessee may make use of this situation and stay in the space for a long period without covering leasing fee. In similar cases, previously, property owner was protected and could make dishonest clients leave the space in simple way, but today they face real problems. Similar moments should be ruled out and rights of legal owners must be protected by the law. I do not say that all laws should be abolished, but the existing legislation should be just improved to maximally protect rights of legal investors or property owners”, Tsulaia noted. Forcible expulsion practice was suspended in December 2015. Parliament of Georgia adopted due amendments by third hearing at the December 11 plenary session. Despite negative position of Business Association, Business Ombudsman, Association of Banks, a part of nongovernmental organizations, a majority of Parliament backed the mentioned amendment anyway. Today this decision has been appealed to the Constitutional Court. Under the approved amendments, a citizen may be expelled from a residential space on the ground of only court decision. All norms that enabled to expel and evict a citizen were annulled. It is interesting that about one year has passed since adoption of these amendments and the law objectors cannot name specific problems that forcible expulsion suspension decision has created. Nor Tsulaia has exact information on problems, but backs the abolition idea anyway. None of the objector organizations has managed to conduct even small research and show to the society what cruelty the abolition of forcible eviction practice has brought. Considerations as if this law would


Construction Company Relieved of Additionally charged Taxes GLCC Law Firm and Irakli Gaprindashvili, its Managing Partner, were pursuing a court case against the Ministry of Finance and the Revenue Service of Georgia since 2013 to relieve one of the construction companies of excessive taxation. The case was about participation of a construction company in a condominium and qualification of a contribution, an obligation to finance construction, as a barter transaction. Qualification of a transaction as a barter by Audit Department of the Revenue Service was followed by additional VAT charge of GEL 2,400,000 imposed on a construction company. GLCC Law Firm, with consideration of client’s interests, appealed this decision of the Revenue Service first in the Dispute Council of GRS and after in the Court. Note: On March 4, 2008 an agreement was signed between one of the construction companies and a condominium on joint activities aimed at building an apartment block. A new condominium was established on the basis of the agreement. A contribution of the first condominium, a party to the Agreement, in a newly established condominium was a plot of land with the value of GEL 2,500,000, while a contribution of a construction company was building an apartment block (i.e. claim), with the estimated value of GEL 6,026,000. Construction was completed and the apartment block was put in commission in April, 2012. Position of GLCC Law Firm: argument of respondents that a contribution in the form of an apartment block in the condominium did not represent an asset was groundless and lacked rationale. According to Article 932(2) of the Civil Code of Georgia, “contribution can be made both in the form of an asset or service.” The condominium had a claim against construction company since 2008 to make a contribution i.e. build an apartment block, which the company fulfilled (made its contribution to the condominium) in 2012. „The issue has been so important and precedential that the GRS Dispute Council transferred the case to the Dispute Resolution Council under the Ministry of Finance, which changed the initial qualification of the tax authority followed by reduction of charge by GEL 1,280,000. Dispute over the remaining amount continued in the court” – said Irakli Gaprindashvili Managing Partner of GLCC Law Firm. A Judge of Administrative Cases Board of Tbilisi City Court, following long discussions and explanations provided by parties, as well as analysis of the evidence, made decision on July 10, 2015 on full allowance of the GLCC suit and invalidated the acts issued by the Revenue Service and the Ministry of Finance on imposing additional charge on the construction company. Later on this decision of the Tbilisi City Court was appealed by the Ministry of Finance and the Revenue Service. “Although the Appeal Court slightly amended decision of the first instance court, its main substance regarding annulment of disputable acts of the Revenue Service and the Ministry of Finance were retained in force under its decision of February 11, 2016. Finally, the case was reviewed by the Chamber of Administrative Cases of the Supreme Court of Georgia on June 23, 2016, which retained decision of the Appeal Court” - explained Irakli Gaprindashvili. As it turned out, the court fully shared arguments of the GLCC Law Firm and allowed it. Finally, the court considered a contribution of a construction company as a claim against the latter, which was realized over time and expired in 2012, and resolved that a contribution to the condominium – building an apartment block represented contribution in the form of an asset and did not represent a transaction subject to VAT under Article 225 (3) of the 2004 -year version of Tax Code (tax legislation effective as of emergence of the tax liability).

October 31, 2016 #167

make mortgage loans more expensive and complicate procedures for their issuance and provoke economic collapse turned out incompetent, because neither mortgage loans have risen in value nor problems arose in the economy. Vakhtang Khmaladze, chairman of parliament’;s committee for legal issues, has different position concerning the issue. In due time, all remarks by Association of Banks were dismissed, but the association members continue misleading the society deliberately, Khmaladze said. It is fraudulent assertions as if abolition of forcible expulsion practice had brought negative results, he added. “What are losses of commercial banks? They lie as if commercial banks are entitled to sell mortgaged apartment if the client fails to pay the loan. Previously, when forcible expulsion practice ran, commercial banks were to apply to court and put up the property for auction”, Khmaladze said. In due time even President Giorgi Margvelashvili backed the bill, while he tries to act as business sector protector. “We believe that this decision serves the idea of strengthening legal statehood and establishing national order and also serves plans for introducing European standards and practice”, President’s parliamentary secretary Giorgi Kverenchkhiladze said. It should be noted that it is world practice to delegate these competences to the court, but this initiative was rejected by many objectors, especially in the banking sector, while the bill supporters noted that commercial banks were confused, because mortgaged property sales procedures would be complicated after suspension of forcible expulsion practice. A part of experts and businessmen noted that suspension of forcible expulsion would make commercial banks to make focus on not sales of mortgaged property, but on banking services. Finally, it should be noted that in all European countries and in any developed countries of the world, nobody is authorized to expel anybody from residential space without court decision. Moreover, a great number of regulations determine property mortgaging aspects. For example, property cannot be mortgaged if underage children live there and they do not have alternative residential space and so on. Thus, in all developed countries it is the court’s prerogative to pass decision on expulsion of citizens from apartments. The existing legislation may be improved, but full restoration of forcible expulsion practice will be manifest throwback to the past. Forcible expulsion practice nourished the interests of commercial banks to issue loans to insolvent clients, because they could receive much more financial benefits. As a result, amid 20082009 financial crisis commercial banks appropriated 40 times more property. And today we have unusual situation, when commercial banks possess much more real estate than developers or other profile businesses.

“We receive the situation when the client cannot pay the due amount and, at the same time, the client refuses to leave your apartment. In this case, you are not able to promptly restore your rights and you have to apply an only legal mechanism – submit an appeal to the court and argue for your apartment to prove other person live in your apartment illegally. Consequently, your rights are restricted for residing in your own apartment or for renting it to other solvent bodies”

Ilia Tsulaia Majoritarian candidate in 16th election district of Didube



October 31, 2016 #167

“The garden will act as an incentive for residents of highland Adjara to develop their own economic capacities by creating an additional market for local products”

Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC will fund the development of Goderdzi Alpine Garden with USD 100,000 Batumi Botanical Garden and Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC (AGL) signed an agreement in which AGL would fund the development of the Goderdzi Alpine Garden with a grant of USD 100,000, on October 19th.


he grant will be used to construct a solar energy system and parking area in the garden, build and equip a temporary administration building for the staff, arrange picnic areas and nature paths, install a septic and sewage system, construct eco toilets and a ticket box, design and print informational signs, maps, and leaflets, and develop beekeeping at the garden through the construction of a beekeepers’ house and the installation of beehives. Construction and development of the Alpine Garden began with the support of Alliances Lesser Caucasus Programme, a market development program

implemented by Mercy Corps Georgia and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. As part of the agreement, the Batumi Botanical Garden will playing a leading role in planning the Alpine Garden and will contribute its own material, intellectual, and technical resources towards implementing the project. It will also create additional jobs for local residents, allocate additional budget resources for the Alpine Garden, and ensure its proper functioning. The aim of this grant is to develop the Goderdzi Alpine Garden as a regional center for tourism, education, and

research that will demonstrate best practices for the sustainable village development. The garden will act as an incentive for residents of highland Adjara to develop their own economic capacities by creating an additional market for local products. In addition, the project will support the Batumi Botanical Garden in its mission to preserve the diversity of local plants through ex situ conservation of relic, endemic, unique, edible, healing, farming, decorative, and other useful species in order to ensure the continued ecological diversity of Adjara. The collection housed at the Alpine Garden will serve a variety scientific, educational, informational, and touristic purposes. ,,The development of the Goderdzi Alpine Garden is one of the most important projects our company has funded through its corporate social responsibility program and will help develop tourism in highland Adjara. In addition to building the Shuakhevi Hydropower Plant (HPP), we are implementing a variety of social projects that include supporting local businesses, improving the region’s infrastructure, and raising the

quality of education. I believe that, together with our other social projects, the establishment of the Alpine Garden will significantly assist the long-term development of highland Adjara.“ - stated CEO of Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC, Ronny Solberg. ,,Today was a very important day for the Batumi Botanical Garden because this is the day when the Botanical Garden and Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC signed an agreement in which the company would invest USD 100,000 for the construction of the Goderdzi Alpine Garden. The Alpine Garden will hopefully be completed next year and ready to receive its first visitors that summer.”- Declared Director of Batumi Botanical Garden, Irakli Archaia. The signing ceremony was attended by the CEO of Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC Ronny Solberg, the director of Batumi Botanical Garden Irakli Archaia; the mayor of Batumi Giorgi Ermakov, and representatives from the Adjaran government and NGO sector.

The aim of this grant is to develop the Goderdzi Alpine Garden as a regional center for tourism, education, and research that will demonstrate best practices for the sustainable village development

6 New Apple Chips will Appear in the Supermarkets Soon Interview with Shalva Mdzinarashvili

Caucasus Business week offers you an interview with Shalva Mdzinarashvili, one of the founders of apple chips idea, who won 100 000 GEL from the government to invest for startup. - Tell us how you came up with an idea to create apple chips and how did you make this idea real? - We are students from Agrarian University, Shalva Mdzinarashvili – food technologist, Nino Noniashvili –food technologist, Tamar Sheitnoshvili- Business Administration. We have been working on our project for 2 years already.We produce healthy and delicious products and Apple chips are one of them. We started to work for this idea 2 years ago and together we found a way how to produce apple chips, without having added extra ingredients. - Can you tell us, how you prepare your product? - The process is really simple. We do not use any additional ingredients such as salt or oil. We just take out inside parts from apple and cut it into small particles, make it dry and pack it. - Tell us about the success of your idea? - We have been working on this idea for two years. At first, we won 5000 GEL from SMARTUP, organized by Estonians. After that, we won the scientific competition and gained 10 000 GEL grant from TA Fund. Finally we have also become winners of Georgian government startup program and gained 100 000 GEL from it. This will help us to build up a production, to buy all the technology we need and produce apple chips by the end of the year. - Which segment is your product aimed to? - Our customers will become everyone, who wants to eat healthy. They will be children, sportsmen and everyone who thinks that eating healthy is important. - In which way is your product different and what advantage does it have compare to other brands? - The main characteristic what makes our product more competitive, is that it is healthy. We offer healthy and delicious product at the same time. - Where are you going to sell your product? - We are planning to sell apple chips in every big supermarket. It will be presented on a big scale. We will see how it will go when we start selling the chips.


October 31, 2016 #167

New Pipe Bar- Family Business Offering Pipes and Bongs Online As Georgia welcomes a variety of nations into its borders, it becomes a country of exciting cultural integration. In this interview with Irina Papashvili, she discusses Pipe Bar- a recently developed family business offering a variety of uniquely designed pipes and bongs. The products are offered through an online store, introducing and delivering the widespread phenomenon of leisure smoking to Georgia and to your doorstep.

- How would you describe your company? When was your company established? Who has founded it? - Pipe Bar has recently appeared on the market. The company was founded about a month ago and started products sales several days ago. My twin brother and I have founded Pipe Bar. To put it simply, this is a small family business. It is an online store of pipes, bongs and related accessories with narrow specialization. - How did the brand development idea arise? - The culture of pipes, bongs and other related accessories of aromatic are widely spread all over the world. Based on this, we have decided to open similar souvenir store in Georgia too. Generally, these accessories create a certain positive subculture among young people and, I think, Georgia should also join this culture. - What materials do you use in your production? - Our products are not manufactured in Georgia. Therefore, we import them from various countries. They are made of glass that is the most used and common material in this sector. We pay a lot of attention to the practicality, design and daintiness of our work. Also, it should be noted that production and aesthetics of the products have been raised to an artistic and creative level. Our friends are also interested in establishing this tendency in Georgia and, in practice, they fulfill various functions of the company. - Which is your target segment on the market? - Our products are made for all categories of adults, but main segment comprises young people anyway. - Why should people buy your products? What is your different niche and what are your advantages compared to other competitor companies and brands? - As per our preliminary estimations, there are several gaps in the market where this product, as a souvenir, is represented among other products completely accidently, where consumers have no choice, in practice.

Therefore, we can say that we have no competitors on the Georgian market. Pipe Bar is the place, where consumers interested in pipes, bongs and other related accessories will receive highquality, diverse and refined products in full compliance with global tendencies. This is in terms of glass processing and refined system of filtration, comfort and special design. - Where is your product sold? - Currently, our products are only sold on social networks, at our online store: ( ). Also, we also provide free delivery services in Tbilisi with the orders delivered to the address within

several hours. - What are your plans for the brand popularization in Georgia and abroad? - Currently, our store trades in pipes and bongs, but in the near future we plan to diversify our products and introduce grinders, bong cleaning means, tobacco pressing devices and other related things. Soon, we will also introduce our website and place stalls in trade outlets. We will also take part in public advertising campaigns. As for the long-term plans, our objective is to replace imports of required materials with domestic production.



October 31, 2016 #167

Current Indicators of the Living Costs are Deceptive ANDRIA GVIDIANI


he standard of living is one of the key indicators of a country’s social and economic development. The exploration and analysis of the living costs is a relevant issue in both developed and developing economies. Currently, according to Geostat, the national statistics service of Georgia reveals that the living costs of an able-bodied male is 157.30 GEL, while for an average family, it is 263.9 GEL. As to family categories, living costs of a one-member family is 139 GEL, a two-member family – 222.9 GEL and a three-member family – 250.8 GEL. Moreover, the cost of living of a four-member family is 278 GEL and a five-member family – 313 GEL. Families with six or more members require 370 GEL. Naturally, these living-cost indicators encounter criticism as these amounts are insufficient for a comfortable life. In Georgia, the cost of living is calculated on the grounds of a minimum food basket. For determining the cost of living of an able-bodied male, Geostat applies a methodology under which a food basket includes the volume of food physiologically necessary for a normal life and working potential. Additionally,

the food basket includes a minimum volume of its elements and calorific value. The minimum food basket for an able-bodied male comprises of 40 products totaling 2300 kilo-calories. However, it should be noted that at least 2500 kilo-calories are required for daily consumption. Additionally, food products should be diversified. Intense discussions are underway to revise the cost of living calculation methodology. Everyone agrees that the current methodology is very outdated and a faulty practice. However, the resolution to this problem lays far ahead. Moreover, it should be noted that an unbiased examination of the minimum food basket and cost of living does not depend on financial resources of the country. The identification of the real living cost does not signify immediate revision of social packages. Cost of living signifies those priorities that the authorities should, gradually, embody in social policy. When talking about the peculiarities of the living costs calculations, the multi-year dynamics of changes should be stressed. Under the ruling of United National Movement (UNM), the national improvement of social equality and the standard of living seemed to be one of the important priorities. However, it will not be far-fetched to say that the

UNM social policy was a facade with nothing in common with the essential improvements of the social system. This suggestion is proved by the existing approaches to the issue of living costs. Namely, for many years, from 1997 to 2003, cost of living was growing and reached its peak in 2003 (130.7 GEL). Last year, the cost of living declined 1.6 times following the decrease of the energetic value of food products and the replacement of expensive products by comparatively cheaper products. Simultaneously, the reduction of the monetary value of food baskets resulted in the reduction of living costs of an able-bodied male. It should be noted that before 2003, the daily Georgian norm of calorie intake comprised of 2500 kilocalories. After 2003, the daily norm reduced to 2300 kilo-calories. This reduction of living costs has preconditioned the considerable reduction of the poverty level. However, the reducing poverty level was not due to the lack of the improvement of living conditions, but rather the result of artificial interference. Additionally, it should be noted that the proportion of food expenditures in the total sum of living costs is 70/30%. Physical food products account for 70% in total volume of the basket, while all other needs occupy 30%.

The identification of the real living cost does not signify immediate revision of social packages. Cost of living signifies those priorities that the authorities should, gradually, embody in social policy.

Contemporary experience suggests that, along with the improvement of living conditions around the world, similar proportion is very an outdated practice and in many European countries. This proportion constitutes 60/40 or even 50/50. Therefore, it is necessary to recalculate these proportions to determine the genuine costs for agreeable living conditions and not for just physical survival. Based on the Georgian reality, it is necessary that the national statistics service revise the existing methodology with the modern standards of calculation. Determining the real cost of living will essentially change the existing social policy and priorities. Pensions and minimum social allowances will be higher compared to the current situation. Although, it is difficult to name the accurate amounts of living costs, it is a technical issue and process in which various parties should be involved. Moreover, it is inadmissible to protract removal of methodological gaps. Political desire and determination is required to tackle this issue. Consequently, it is implied that the authorities are disinterested in determining the living costs as the existing social policy will be overthrown. More so, in all the election periods, almost all political parties pledge to introduce new methodology to redefine the term ‘cost of living’. It should be stressed that the shortcomings of the above-mentioned methodology, current indicators of cost of living is deceptive, as the existing situation in the country is extremely satisfactory. Consequently, the authorities should, urgently, determine the amounts necessary for a satisfying standard of living of Georgian citizens.



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“I started working when I turned 17. I found my first job place at a Georgian Forecast company where my duty was to organize various events”

Bureaucratic Details Generate Much Discomfort in Working Process Natia Ghlonti, the Beeline PR Manager, reveals her experiences as a top PR manager. Ghlonti allows a peak into her personal experiences that led her to success. She reveals her secrets to overcoming hardships at the workplace, offers constructive advice for achieving success and the discomforts of troublesome bureaucracy. MARIAM KOPALIANI

-Who are you by profession? - I hold a MA degree in PR Communications. Over the past years, I have been working in the field of communications. - Your first job place? - I started working when I turned 17. I found my first job place at a Georgian Forecast company where my duty was to organize various events. Later, I worked as a freelance reporter and, briefly, I shifted my efforts into the PR field. - Current job place and position? - I have been working in the telecommunications field for 6 years and, today, I am PR manager for the Beeline company. -Your first success? - I won an award at a musical contest when I was 6 years old. I was very happy because I had won the competition among higher-grade pupils. This was my first achievement after my hardwork and training. Success achieved in this way makes a person the happiest! - Affairs, project you are proud of today?

- Making a documentary on Ioseb Grishashvili was my first, and the favorite, project implemented as part of the Old Tbilisi Literary Bohema project in 2005. Naturally, there are many research works, books, films and works about Ioseb Grishashvili. However, I think our project has introduced entirely different aspects of this poet to our society. - Field, where you would never work? - I would not work in the IT field. My character and career experience would not enable me to work with codes and scripts. - What makes a person successful in your profession? Are special features required, besides knowledge? - I would name the following aspects as necessary preconditions for success: Be Engaged and Committed Make Enough Mistakes to Succeed. Return Phone Calls. Fast. Be Happy for Everyone. - Is PR art perceived and understood in Georgia in its classical

nature and essence? - Previously, PR was perceived only as an instrument for media relations. Today, in the age of new technologies and innovations development, where traditional media loses earlier positions, approaches and considerations over PR functions are entirely revised. This process is happening in Georgia and all over the world. - How simply do you manage to resolve crisis situations and take decision? Do similar cases affect quality of business? - Support of working team is of crucial importance in crisis situations and I have this support at a full capacity. I always receive this support in similar situations. Therefore, I do not have difficulties in taking decisions promptly. Maybe this factor preconditions my success. - Interesting episode from your life (business) that has changed your lifestyle. - During my service at Beeline, I would name its major project in Georgia – Beeline Guinness Record, when hundreds of Beeline clients and workers gathered at the Stadium and depicted a mobile phone. This was a very emotional project, where I got a lot of experience regarding team work. The main I understood is that, if you invest hard work, nothing is unattainable. - Where would you work if not this profession? - I would work in a field close to PR. I would be a sociologist or psychologist. I am very interested in these fields. - What are your strongest features as a businesswoman? - I think I am good at multitasking, as well as in negotiating. These aspects assist me tremendously in my working process. For many years of my role in the PR field, I have acquired the intuition to feel

current trends and, even, what will be in trend tomorrow. - What do you receive from your employer company? What makes your company interesting? - I have been working for Beeline company for 6 years. My job is the best for my career promotion, because Beeline, as an innovative company, understands new technologies very well as well as the permanent changes in digital works. Consequently, the company understands that my performance should be updated and revised jointly with this continuously changing world. My efforts should comprise both traditional forms of PR and new digital spaces and fields. - What factors create major discomfort in working process? - Bureaucratic details generate major discomfort in working process. I understand very well that agreements, payments and other procedures are related to complicated procedural norms and they must be protected to meet legal standards, transparency of company and other aspects. Despite this, filling out various forms and scrupulous details are very boring and inefficient. - Where do you see yourself after 20 years? - I think I will work in the PR field again and try to share my experiences with new generations and assist new startups in achieving success.

I think I am good at multitasking, as well as in negotiating. These aspects assist me tremendously in my working process. For many years of my role in the PR field, I have acquired the intuition to feel current trends and, even, what will be in trend tomorrow

October 31, 2016 #167



Will Chinese Investments Rescue Abandoned Tea Industry in Georgia China plans to invest 0.5 billion USD in the development of the Georgian tea-growing industry. The plan involves rehabilitating 11-15 hectare, tea-growing plantations and territories that are left unmanaged. The 15-year project calls for introducing new tea plantation breeds and equipment. Chinese investors pledge to put about 0.5 billion USD in the industry development. The Caucasus Business Week (CBW) has explored perspectives of this project for the rehabilitation of tea plantations and whether this project will prosper.

European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development


n the beginning of October, with areas of respective municipal dethe support of the European velopment. On second day, ECU Neighbourhood Programme for organised a field trips for media to Agriculture and Rural Develop- Borjomi Local Action Group (LAG), ment (ENPARD) rural development rural development projects and agrimedia seminar and media tour held cultural cooperatives supported by in Borjomi. The event was organised the EU in the region. by ENPARD Communication Unit The media seminar and media tour (ECU) in Georgia. took place alongside with Rural Participants of the media tour at- Development Policy Forum. The tended a seminar on ENPARD pro- Forum organised by UNDP in coopgramme and eration with MoA its rural devel- The media seminar and and FAO under opment (RD) media tour took place the EU funded component. ENPARD proPresentations alongside with Rural gramme. The aim on ENPARD Development Policy of the Policy Fopilot RD proj- Forum. The Forum rum is to enhance ects and grant organised by UNDP in understanding programmes of the EU’s apcooperation with MoA were delivered proach to Rural by Mikheil and FAO under the Development Lomidze, RD EU funded ENPARD and relevance Project Man- programme to Georgia, as ager in Borjomi well as to discuss (Mercy Corps), main challenges Juba Maruashvili, RD Project Man- and opportunities for its developager in Lagodekhi (Care) and Salome ment in the country. The Policy FoBakashvili, RD Project Manager in rum was guided by UNDP and FAO Stepantsminda municipality (Peo- leading international consultants to ple in Need). support the Government of Georgia The speakers have informed the in planning of policy for effective seminar participants about Local implementation of Rural DevelopDevelopment Strategies developed ment Policy in Georgia aligned with in the framework of ENPARD pro- the Georgia EU Association Agreegramme, as well as ongoing grant ment (AA) and guided by EU policy programmes and the prioritised for Rural Development.

Partnership Fund Ternali Tea Several days ago, major Chinese companies visited the “The tea plantations’ rehabilitation project that Georgia Partnership Fund and submitted an investment pro- will implement jointly with Chinese investors is a very posal for the restoration and development of tea planta- good undertaking. However, it would be better to antions in Georgia. These companies are as follows: Beijing nounce the abandoned tea industry as a priority direcJinfenghengye Agricultural Development Co., Ltd and tion and rehabilitate the tea-growing field through joint China Agricultural Science and Technology Entrepre- efforts of business and state sectors,” Ternali, Tea foundneurship and Innovation League, and The International er of Alu Gamakharia, said. Committee. The mentioned companies have proposed “This was not the best method, although, it provides soto implement the tea industrial-commercial and the lutions today. The space for tea plantations decrease anculture-tourism complex projects as part of the memo- nually,” Gamakharia noted. randum signed with the Partnership Fund. “In this situation, it does not matter whether Chinese or “The project consists of several parts and calls for pant- Indian investors invest money into the recovery of the ing tea plantations, processing tea leaves, strengthening industry. They will not lead tea plantations anywhere. tea production and developing eco-tourism,” Partner- The main thing is that the investment will recover tea ship Fund reports. plantations and employ people. As a result, Georgia will Partnership Fund director, David maintain the tea plantations fund. Saganelidze, noted that this is only For several years, our people earned a project and that Georgia has more This project will a living only from this for several than a century of experience in de- incentivize Georgian years”, Gamakharia noted. veloping tea plantations. The men- tea-growers and set The founder of Ternali Tea also mentioned project is aimed to change future cooperation tioned the possible risks and noted the social problems that have led the that the kind of agreement signed field to the current grave situation in perspectives. Chinese with investors is of crucial imporinvestors plan to buy western Georgia. tance. “One of the main risks is that Georhigh-quality tea leaves Association of Tea growers gian small tea companies will disapfrom domestic teaTengiz Svanidze, head of Associapear from the market. Therefore, the tion of Georgian Tea-Growers, posi- growers too coming agreement should comprise tively appraises the tea plantations’ guarantees for domestic companies,” rehabilitation project. Moreover, he he said. explains that the Chinese party has been examining fea- «Investors should promote domestic companies, estabtures and perspectives of Georgian tea for a long period. lish partnership relations with them and arrange producThe Beijing Agriculture Development Fund has cooper- tion chains. All these guarantees should be embodied in ated with Lazi holding company, founded in Martviil, as the coming agreement», Gamakharia pointed out. part of a pilot project. “State structures are participating in this process and we Martvili Tea Company will only welcome it if this bilateral cooperation is ex- “We will only welcome the investors if the abandoned panded further,” Svanidze said. tea industry will be rescued and recovered,” Martvii Tea «I hope something will change as this project was inau- company founder Iuri Bechvaia said. “The lack of finangurated. When the Chinese show interest and see respec- cial resources has led Georgian tea to the edge of extinctive results, they will not give up. I hope this will work in tion,” he added. “Our company has suspended serial that way», Svanidze said. production 2 years ago and continues tea manufacturing “This project will incentivize Georgian tea-growers and in small volumes,” Bechvaia said. set future cooperation perspectives. Chinese investors «I never had resources to put investments in my producplan to buy high-quality tea leaves from domestic tea- tion and rescue my business, while the authorities have growers too,” Svanidze said. never supported the tea industry. This Chinese invest“The rehabilitation of tea plantations will develop eco- ment may eject small companies like us from the martourism too, because people who are interested in high- ket, but this is not the main problem. The main thing is quality ecologically clean products, will visit this region, that the field be recovered and people be employed», where this type of culture grows,” Svanidze added. Bechvaia noted.



October 31, 2016 #167

Handmade Purses Designed by Georgian Youngsters Might be Exported to Greece and Israel Handmade leather and wooden purses designed by Georgians will probably be exported to Greece and Israel. According to one of the founders of Begels, Natia Mgeladze, exporting product abroad was their wish from the beginning, but at this stage, it was initiated by Greece and Isreal. Natia Mgeladze says that their working space basically includes Techno park and University laboratory. We are working on designing different models but whether or not it will be successful depends on the interest of customers. Therefore, we will decide if we design new models, depending on the demand of customers.



TBC Bank Becomes the Owner of Kopenbur Insurance Company


main insurance partner for TBC group after the unification. At the same time, TBC group is going to broaden the insurance service spectrum and offer new insurance products such as travelling insurance, accident insurance, credit insurance, life insurance, business property insurance, loan insuance and etc. New Insurance Company will basically be focused on retail trade and offer service to physical person. In the average term, TBC plans to occupy 25% of the insurance market. The first investment amounts to 8 million USD, which will be used for technological development and completing the capital. The heads of new insur-

BC Bank group signed the agreement to buy 100% of “Kopenbur” insurance company. This was the decision based on improving financial service diversification and offering diverse products. In the following few months, it is planned to implement rebranding of “Kopenbur” and in 2017, TBC bank customers will

have an opportunity to take benefit of the insurance company “Kopenbur” products, which will be renamed after being bought by TBC. “Kopenbur” appeared in 2014 and it is focused on automobiles insurance. It occupies 9% of automobiles in Georgia (According to 30June, 2016 statistics). “Kopenbur” insurance company will become the



How Three Students Created Successful Business of Cleaning Service

A Long-Term Perspective Is The Most Important in Business

A company Problem Killer, founded by three students is operating for the one year already. A company offers it’s clients sanitary and cleaning services for corporate and private customers. BusinessPressNews talked with one of the founders Irakli Ambroladze about their startup and future plans.

Savse is the only drink which includes the mixture of fruit and vegetables. At the same time, during its production there is a new technology, such as cold pasteurization used. This allows maintaining the taste, vitamins and minerals, which usually disappears in case of hot pasteurization. The main message of designer is: The product is healthy! The founder of this brand is a young businessman, Guka Tavberidze. How is Savse presented on British Market, what can you tell us about the turnover and income? The turnover amounts to 11.5 million pounds and it will increase in the future. It will take a lot of working force but in the following year, it will become more than 200 million pounds. When I was an employee myself, I worked very hard to develop myself and learn new methods of success and how to create a company. Was there some niche on the market for you, or have you changed it? The idea comes to those who have a wish for it. I wanted to create something totally impressive. I left the job where my salary was 100 000 pounds per year. Money has never been my motivator though. My main motivation was curiosity about what I was able to do. The idea of creating fresh drinks came to my mind when I saw my mother making drink in the kitchen.

Cooperative KONA Success Story Herbal Tea Business – Start-up with a Handful of Seeds and New Georgian product, which is both tasty and useful: Oxfam representatives visited Natalia Partskhaladze, one of the representatives of cooperative “Kona”, who was leading the demonstration event devoted to production of herbal tea together with other members of the cooperative at village Lavriskhevi located in Kaspi municipality. One of the main objectives of the demonstration event was to present and taste various types of teas produced by cooperative “Kona”.

I thought that there is no need to look for something because it’s already there. My mother is stimulation for my business. From the beginning, I had no idea what to do but I realized that pasteurization would be the biggest advantage. For example CocaCola and Pepsi are super brands and they are presented as healthy drinks on the market, which is not true. Hot pasteurization destroys healthy substances; however the method my mother used was different. I realized that I could do something different, something better. Does quality make an influence on the advantage of your product? It is very important how you start. As soon as I found the right way of production, it worked. I got rid of all the “advisors” and decide to take all the responsibility myself and knowing what is happening in my company. I had disappointments too, but it’s the most important not to leave your job. I learned about MARK Zukerberg project. How he started on a small scale and then made Facebook a successful business. When I had my first major meeting, I had to wait for the general manager of the company for a long time. Then he came and I started to explain him what was the advantages of my fresh drink. He thought that I was lunatic but finally he became my partner. We have had incredible stories, however I told you only 1% of it.

ance company will be general director of TBC, Paata Gadzadze and head of TBC daughter companies in Georgia and Azerbaijan, Davit Kiguradze. They have a huge experience of managing leading insurance companies in Georgia. “I think that this decision will provide our customers with benefits, in the first place, because we will offer them complex insurance products. Service will be implemented in the most convenient form for the customers, in short time and with a simple procedure” –declares Paata Gadzadze. There are 100 employees in “Kopenbur” and they will continue their work in the company under the new brand.

PASHA Bank Sponsors TMG 2016 – Telecom Meetings in Georgia For the second year in a row PASHA Bank sponsors Telecom Meetings in Georgia, a two-day annual event that will take place on October 26-27. Since 2010 Telecom Meetings in Georgia create a popular networking platform for about 100 delegates representing medium and large sized enterprises from Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Europe. TMG is an important event for local as well as international operators to share experiences and make new connections. Among the participants there are mobile and fixed line operators, internet providers and manufacturers of various telecom equipment, such as: LINX Telecom (Netherlands), Apelby Communications (Czech Republic), PCCW Global (Hong Kong), OTEGLOBE (Greece), Turkcell Superonline (Turkey) and other telecom sector players. Due to the growing interest towards the region, the abovementioned companies visit TMG every year to strengthen the existing contacts with the local operators and seek new opportunities. “It is the second year that PASHA Bank sponsors TMG, once again underlining our desire to support the development of local business and economy. We hope the meetings will contribute to the development of country’s telecom industry. Considering our focus on corporate business development we are willing to continue supporting similar business events in future,” – said Goga Japaridze, Commercial Director and Member of Board of Directors at PASHA Bank Georgia. “PASHA Bank is sponsoring our event for the second year. Considering the Bank’s strategy to support those projects aimed at development and growth of the country’s economy, we are more than happy that TMG 2016 is among those projects and PASHA Bank sees its importance.” - said Sophie Amiranashvili, organizer of TMG 2015.

The Face of the City I came over to Tbilisi in November 2012, for the first time after 30 years of absence. It was a nice surprise for me then, as the border guard at the airport after stamping the visa into my passport gave me a bottle of wine with a bright smile and said “Welcome to Georgia!”.

Dr. Andrei Maximov Maximov&Partners LLC


y mood immediately changed to “A+”— especially after a comparison with the Russian border guards, who looked eternally disgruntled and were invariably suspecting something. Well, that was not the only reason, of course, why my family moved some months after that to become permanent residents in Georgia. Foreigners still get bottles of Saperavi, the well-known Georgian wine, at the passport control, but a new tradition emerged at the airport which I do not especially favor now that I have become the citizen of Georgia. Not only cab drivers meet tourists now when they emerge from the airport building, but also children and young women who keep begging for money. I do not know what is their ethnic background and I do not want to offend anyone. It does not really make any difference! What is important, however, is that no one’s mood will get high when seeing little kiddies beggars who grab the hands of newly arrived passengers and who cling to the cars so that there is a risk for them to get under the wheels. Later on tourists enter the capital and enjoy the sights of beautiful Tbilisi. The first impression is always most important for one’s impressions of a country. But on almost every intersection tourists will see beggars of all ages, men, women and children, right in the middle of the traffic. This is what I hate most of all: young women with babies in their arms ask for money during horrendous heat, in the clouds of exhaust gases and stinking fumes of melting asphalt. My opinion on this is very straightforward and decisive: if this woman is the child’s mother, she should be deprived of parental rights. If the baby is someone else’s child, this woman should be charged with a criminal offence, that is, for the exploitation of child labor— no, baby labor! Good-natured Georgians are somehow not really shocked by the sight: one can see how when their cars stop at the red light, windows get open and small change is given to the “mother”. Please believe me, however: most foreigners get the worst possible impression when seeing that. And the first impression of the city is also changed: one remembers not only its beautiful views, but beggar babies. This situation could have been easily changed, while staying in the legal framework. If Georgia’s lawmakers see their country as a European country, they must turn their attention to this issue that is certainly not a minor detail! When tourists get outside the airport building, the first Georgians to meet them are, of course, cab



October 31, 2016 #167

drivers. I do not really know from first-hand experience how things are at the airport right now, because I always meet my guests with my own car. But in the city people keep talking, alas, about how cabbies cheat and at times it gets to the degree of being immensely impudent. I sometimes get to experience this too, because I look like a foreigner even though I live here permanently. Here is the latest example: I live in Tskneti, so when I took a cab there, the driver announced that it would cost 50 Lari. “Are you joking?” I asked him. He started telling then that Tskneti is far outside the city, that a lot of gasoline is needed to drive across the mountains, on serpentine roads, and that his is a rather good price for other cabbies would have asked for more. He got from me, in fact, what he was entitled to: 10 Lari. I also explained to him how much harm he does to Georgia by his behavior. Well, I do not think, unfortunately, that my words set him on the right path. How would I prefer to act in this situation? Call the “tourist police” or some other number, of a different state law enforcement agency, that deals with such cases when foreign tourists get cheated: I would tell them the car license plate number and ask them to record my complaint. Correspondingly, this driver should have been penalized, one way or the other, and necessarily in the legal framework. Do not get mistaken: you can get cheated by a cab driver in Greece, India or Thailand, no problem… But he will turn into a nice angel the moment you get out your mobile phone in order to make a call to the “tourist police”, an institution that has existed in those countries for a long time now. One more suggestion in this respect. My guests always ask me, how much would cost a cab ride around the city, to Mtskheta, Mtatsminda, to Batumi, Signakhi, etc. There is a banner at the Tbilisi airport indicating an approximate cost of rides from the airport to various destinations in the city. It would have been also great, if the Tourism Agency could take up upon itself a task of preparing an elementary flyer and distributing it in the airports, railway stations and larger hotels, which flyer would contain major tourist routes in Tbilisi and around Georgia plus approximate cab rates for getting there. I am sure that the state would not have to spend anything on printing such a flyer: transportation companies or taxi companies would, I guess, happily pay for their ads in such a flyer. The issue is not about paying a minimum rate for a ride. Any newcomer would pay some 5 Lari over the suggested rate. It is important, however, that the tourist will not pay ten times more than the real rate—he will find out about it anyway, later on. And he will get a bad aftertaste from such an experience.

I would like to tell foreign tourists at this point that they should not at all get the idea as if all Georgian cab drivers are bent on cheating them. Most of them are honest, welcoming and cordial guys. Most of them will not only take more than they are entitled to, but will give change at their own initiative: when the ride costs, in their reckoning, 4 Lari, they would give you one Lari back, if you paid them 5 Lari. I have many friends among cab drivers in all regions of Georgia, and I always talk to them “about life’s events” whether I know them from before or not. “Black sheep” however exist everywhere, in all countries and Georgia is not an exception. Thing to do would be to get rid of such types or to improve their performance, be it by punishing them and/or through competition.

The issue is not about paying a minimum rate for a ride. Any newcomer would pay some 5 Lari over the suggested rate. It is important, however, that the tourist will not pay ten times more than the real rate—he will find out about it anyway, later on. . And he will get a bad aftertaste from such an experience. I do not think that the current discussion in the Georgian media (re whether cab services must be licensed or not) does not really have any sense. The notion that licensing would raise the rates and to remove private service is an example of pure populism. At least for a simple reason that even today when ordering a cab through a company I get as a rule a better price and a better car. It is not true that private cab drivers would be removed from the market. They would simply work for licensed companies which can hire their drivers with own cars on certain conditions. Yes, I do not like it when my driver smokes while driving me with my child in his car. Nor do I like to hear that his brake pads should have been changed a long time ago. Or that the driver does not have a clue re where is some area in Tbilisi… Then anyone who does not fit into the job description, into elementary requirements of his profession, should be removed from this job so that he could try his abilities in some other field of work. Tourists who come to Tbilisi will certainly like it!

Why Real Estate Markets of Eastern Europe and Asia are Interesting for the Foreign Investors Experts believe that Eastern Europe and Central Asia is interesting for international investors. Why and how to find foreign partners for specific project were discussed by experts in the course of press conference held by URE Club and


ovember 24th, in Kiev for showing what has been done the Annual EEA Real in the real estate industry and Estate Forum and what more can be done. Among Project Awards will the readers of EuropaProperty. bring together leading developcom there are many who have ers from Georgia, Kazakhstan, already invested in the markets Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova of Ukraine and other countries and Ukraine as well as interof the region. However, accordnational investors. The goal of ing to Craig Smith, today global upcoming event is to discuss ininvestors are more interested in vestment opportunities in these the region as a whole; Ukraine regions and explore real estate is less interesting for them as a projects, the best of which will separate market for investing. be awarded during EEA Project The countries of Eastern Europe Awards Gala. and Asia are in the position What is the key feature of the when they have no choice but Award this year and why foreign compete for investor, say Vitaly investors demonstrate particular Boyko, NAI Ukraine. There are interest in the regions was the good prospects for attracting a main topic of press conference foreign investor today. Though, held October 13th. it requires extra efforts. As Olga Solovei, managing partMarkets in the region are interestner of URE Club mentions, this ing for investors for two reasons. year we expand the geography Firstly, the yield of commercial of the EEA Forum & Project property is higher than 10 %, Awards – Moldova has been while Western Europe has just added to the list of the countries 2-4 %, and Central Europe – 5.6 %. participated last Secondly, in the year. In addipost-Soviet counIn terms of time tion, the event tries, in particular, and venue chosen will be attended in Ukraine there for the EEA Real by delegations are many valuable from Turkey and projects with Estate Forum & Poland – countries lack of funding, Project Awards, that have been so investor can speakers believe it investing in the join the project is the best option Ukrainian real practically at any for all participating stage. In Europe, it estate market and parties. Kiev is the other markets of is not possible to EEA region for buy half-finished most convenient a long period of projects and it is platform for time. also impossible the meeting of Olga Solovei also to buy finished developers from underlines that property – one can Kazakhstan, this year the numonly start to build Azerbaijan, ber of completed it from scratch, Georgia, Belarus projects has been what is mostly significantly unacceptable for and Moldova increased. This many investors with foreign fact influenced who want to get investors due to the number of the fast and large its geographical offered nominaprofit. location. tions. An objective The expert beassessment of lieves that for the companies operating in the efficient and fruitful work in the market is very important for region foreign investors should the international investors who seek reliable local partners. The are looking for local partners. fact that many local companies Therefore, this year there have have come through critical years been added several nominations of the market turbulence is a for real estate companies and very good piece of evidence of professionals. The objectivity their reliability and trustiness. and unbiased approach to the In terms of time and venue judging procedure of the Award chosen for the EEA Real Estate will be held by international Forum & Project Awards, speakexpert jury and supervised by ers believe it is the best option methodological partner EY. for all participating parties. Kiev Craig Smith, Europaproperty. is the most convenient platform com, considers that the investfor the meeting of developers ment forum in Kiev, which will from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, bring together representatives of Georgia, Belarus and Moldova several countries of the former with foreign investors due to its Soviet Union is a good platform geographical location.



October 31, 2016 #167

October 31, 2016 #167




“ “Today “We are now in 200 spots in 10 states and 80 cities. We have created 2,000 jobs and we are expecting a 35 million euros in revenue this year”

prepares us for tomorrow”

It’s not smoking. Nor vaping. It’s, well -- Philip Morris isn’t quite sure what. Its best idea so far for what to call it: “HEETing.”

Joe Budden

Baku port Turkish entrepreneur builds betting empire in game-changer Ghana, creates 2,000 jobs in heart of Silk


Turkish entrepreneur has established an official betting system particularly for camel and horse races and sporting competitions in Ghana, with his company reaching 100,000 people on a monthly basis and creating 2,000 jobs. Halit Karabaşoğlu, who is the child of a shopkeeper from the southeastern province of Kilis, moved to Ghana in 2012 and set up a betting and lottery system, a vacant sector in the African country. Karabaşoğlu built his betting system under the name of Safaribet for horse and camel races as well as football, tennis and basketball matches, with a similar betting and lottery system in Turkey. “We went to Ghana for tourism and energy but we saw that it is a 35 million-person country and there is a huge demand for football. Fifty percent of the country can count the names of players in the first 10 teams of the Premier League with their wives. Being a football player there is the best point to ever reach in human dreams. Their biggest dream is to become footballers in France, Italy and England. We first set up a license commission which never existed before. We established Safaribet and

began lottery games. We have become a generic brand in Ghana in this field,” Karabaşoğlu said. Karabaşoğlu also added that his betting system made progress after 2015 and that they developed products in line with the entertainment culture of the country. “We are now in 200 spots in 10 states and 80 cities. We have created 2,000 jobs and we are expecting a 35 million euros in revenue this year. We are aiming for 55 million euros in revenue in 2017 and another 100 million in 2018. We will be in 300 spots in 2017 and reach 4,000 employees. We will open to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. If we succeed, we will reach an employment of 10,000 in 2018,” Karabaşoğlu said. Karabaşoğlu also described Ghana as a very happy country with a decent entertainment culture. “We began the lottery games sector in Ghana as a hobby. Now we have an open front company and we are excited. There is no coffeeshop culture in this country but a bar culture. They begin drinking on Friday and drink and dance until Sunday. They do this with an avarage of 10 dollars. It is a very happy country and it is so hard to see a person who does not smile. There is also no racism,” he said.

Rising Ruble Dents Russian Wheat-Export Outlook Amid Global Glut


ussia will probably export less wheat this season than expected before as a stronger ruble makes it harder to find customers for the grain. Shipments from the world’s biggest supplier will be 29.5 million metric tons, down 1.6 percent from a previous estimate, Moscow-based Institute for Agricultural Market Studies said Tuesday. SovEcon, another consultant in Moscow, reduced its outlook 1.3 percent to 30 million tons last week. Russia’s bumper crop boosted wheat inventories to a record for the nation’s port-Soviet history by Oct. 1, according to SovEcon. That’s adding to the global glut from large harvests around the world that have pushed benchmark prices in Chicago to near a 10-year low. “The trend isn’t very good,” said

Dmitry Rylko, director general of IKAR, as the institute is known. “The ruble is getting stronger while the external market is difficult, with ample supply.” The ruble’s rebound has slowed international sales so far this season by making the grain more expensive for overseas buyers. The currency has gained 19 percent against the dollar this year, driven by an increase in the oil price. Exports also suffered when Egypt, a major buyer of Black Sea grain, briefly halted purchases earlier this year amid a dispute with traders. The coming winter may be harsher than last, which was the warmest on record, Rylko said. That has the potential to suspend navigation in Russia’s shallow Azov Sea ports in a change from last season, which would interrupt some grain exports, he said.

In Marlboro Country, a BigMoney Race for the New Smoke


The new port of Baku will become a game-changing transportation and manufacturing hub in the heart of the emerging new Silk Road, Forbes said in a story dedicated to Azerbaijan’s Alat Port. Reminding that the port sits at the crossroads of the two significant transport corridors that pass eastwest from Kazakhstan to Europe and north-south from Russia to Iran, Forbes said the port covers 20 square kilometers and it will consist of a multifaceted port surrounded by a free trade zone in the future. “The strategy is that the port and industrial zone will work in symbiotic relationship similar to that in the Jebel Ali Free Zone (JAFZA) in Dubai,” said Forbes. “Eventually, it is hoped that the port will handle 25 million tons of bulk cargo and around one million container shipments per year.” According to the story, the new port is an ambitious program of economic diversification.

Tenders ending for making improvements in 3 enlarged Armenia communities The tenders are ending for making improvements in the three enlarged communities of Armenia, Deputy Minister of Territorial Administration and Development, Vache Terteryan, told Armenian The representatives of these very communities are submitting the respective tenders. They can propose any infrastructure they consider useful for their towns and villages. The respective projects will be implemented by means of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. First, these projects will be carried out in the first three alreadyenlarged communities (Dilijan, Tumanyan, and Tatev). Subsequently, similar projects will be announced in eleven more communities which also need to be enlarged.


ou want a trip to Philip Morris International Inc. to feel like a visit to Marlboro Country. But the company’s Swiss research center, aka the Cube, just won’t play along. Perched above crystalline Lake Neuchatel, southwest of Zurich, the glass hexahedron holds secrets to a future when, Philip Morris says, the world will be blissfully smoke-free. That’s right: Philip Morris, of all companies, is telling smokers to quit. Here, beyond the sun-dappled reflecting pool, scientists in lab coats are searching for the Big Tobacco’s magic bullet: cigarette substitutes that will sell -- but won’t kill. The push gained new urgency Friday with news that British American Tobacco Plc was offering $47 billion to buy out Reynolds American Inc., a move that would topple Philip Morris as the world’s largest publicly traded tobacco company. The stakes could scarcely be higher. Tobacco claims more than 6 million lives every year. With smoking on the decline around the world, tobacco giants are racing to find new, supposedly safer products to feed nicotine addiction, even as they lean on old-fashioned cigarettes to sustain their profits. Not Cold Turkey Can Big Tobacco really kick cigarettes? More to the point, can it afford to? “We can’t stop cold turkey,” says Andre Calantzopoulos, the chief executive officer of Philip Morris International. A crucial test could come in 2017 when his next big hope -- an iPhoneesque contraption that heats tobacco inside a cigarillo-size tube -- potentially hits the U.S. Quitting old-fashioned smokes won’t be easy for tobacco companies or their stakeholders. Philip Morris turned out 850 billion cigarettes last year, generating net revenue of about $74 billion. All that tobacco pays off handsomely for global investors: Counting dividends, the company’s stock has returned roughly 70 percent over the past five years. For Calantzopoulos, an electrical engineer by training and reformed smoker who’s spent his career at Philip Morris, the challenge will be to come up with new moneymakers as society radically redefines the way it uses tobacco. That, while BAT is grabbing the rest of Reynolds to help power its own push into so-called next generation products. Seeking Smokers? Critics are skeptical. They say Big Tobacco is simply doing what it’s always done: selling addictive products, with a gloss of feel-good marketing, while keeping tobacco at the heart of a $770 billion global industry. “Philip Morris has demonstrated time and time again in the past its introduction of new products has led to more smokers,” says Matt Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a leading U.S. anti-smoking group. “Given their history, no one should ever trust what a tobacco company says it intends to do.” Naysayers aside, what’s happening inside the Cube goes well beyond popular alternatives like electronic cigarettes, which exploded onto the scene in the late-2000s and made “vape” the Oxford Dictionaries 2014 word of the year. Philip Morris doesn’t even have a word for what comes after “vape.” Its four-pronged strategy starts with something called iQOS, pronounced, EYE-kose. Flip open the white- or blue-colored plastic iQOS case and you’ll find a heater that looks like a stubby pen. Into one end you insert what amount to munchkin-size cigarettes, called HEETS. The iQOS -- which some have said is an

acronym for “I quit ordinary smoking” -- gently heats the tobacco without burning it, producing a warm, nicotine-laced aerosol. New Name It’s not smoking. Nor vaping. It’s, well -- Philip Morris isn’t quite sure what. Its best idea so far for what to call it: “HEETing.” IQOS has been a hit in Japan and parts of Europe. After an extensive application process with U.S. health authorities, the product is expected to reach America next year, though without claims that it’s any safer than regular cigarettes. IQOS will have to pass a second hurdle with the Food and Drug Administration before it can be marketed as safer. After HEETS comes TEEPS, a heat-not-burn product that looks pretty much like an old-fashioned cigarette. Here again, Philip Morris is relying on tobacco. But instead of lighting up the old way, users ignite a carbon tip that heats the tobacco. The taste and nicotine intake of iQOS and TEEPS are closer to that of ordinary cigarettes than e-cigarettes, the company says, a stab at fixing smokers’ No. 1 complaint about early vapor products. Nicotine Salt A third device, STEEM, is a twist on a medical inhaler: It combines nicotine and a weak organic acid to produce nicotine salt, which is absorbed without vapor. A fourth, called MESH, is a more conventional e-cigarette using flavored nicotine liquid. So far, Philip Morris has spent more than $3 billion on its post-cigarette push. Whatever the concerns about cigarette substitutes, many agree e-cigs and the like are safer than ordinary smokes. But there are fears that all these new products may ultimately drive people back to conventional cigarettes -- or get nonsmokers hooked on the habit. “These products are not zero-risk,” Calantzopoulos said. Getting iQOS to America’s doorstep also has been a slog. The reduced-risk application to the Food and Drug Administration, expected in by the end of this year, is already more than 2 million pages. The application to get the product on shelves will likely be filed early next year. “We are aware of the history of the tobacco industry, but our job is to take the sciences they have submitted and objectively evaluate what their data is and how far it goes to addressing the mandatory statutory standards,” said Mitch Zeller, director for the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. New-Product Race Philip Morris isn’t running this race alone. BAT, Reynolds, Altria Group Inc. and Japan Tobacco Inc. are all working on a variety of products. “The race is not money, but time,” Calantzopoulos said. Here in Switzerland, the Philip Morris campus isn’t smoke-free. But the company is making an effort to project a postcigarette image. The main building has three sections: Earth, Wind and Air. Fire is missing. Indeed, e-cigarettes and iQOS have caught on among the company’s former smokers. Jacek Olczak, the chief financial officer, said iQOS helped him quit regular cigarettes. “I’m extremely happy,” he said. “My company solves my own problem, and I can make money off of it.” Nearly everyone in the industry acknowledges that the road ahead for Big Tobacco will be long. Public health officials, and many ordinary people, are wary of the industry and its intentions. So change won’t be easy. As Calantzopoulos put it: “Decades of history are not going to change in one afternoon.”



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October 31, 2016 #167

Embassy United States of America Embassy 11 Balanchivadze St., Dighomi Dstr., Tbilisi Tel: 27-70-00, 53-23-34 E-mail:; United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Embassy 51 Krtsanisi Str., Tbilisi, Tel: 227-47-47 E-mail: Republic of France Embassy 49, Krtsanisi Str. Tbilisi, Tel: 272 14 90 E-mail: Web-site: Federal Republic of Germany Embassy 20 Telavi St. Tbilisi Tel: 44 73 00, Fax: 44 73 64 Italian RepublicEmbassy 3a Chitadze St, Tbilisi, Tel: 299-64-18, 292-14-62, 292-18-54 E-mail: Republic of Estonia Embassy 4 Likhauri St., Tbilisi, Tel: 236-51-40 E-mail: Republic of Lithuania Embassy 25 Tengiz Abuladze St, Tbilisi Tel: 291-29-33 E-mail: Republic of Latvia Embassy 16 Akhmeta Str., Avlabari, 0144 Tbilisi. E-mail: Greece Republic Embassy 37. Tabidze St. Tbilisi Tel: 91 49 70, 91 49 71, 91 49 72 Czech RepublicEmbassy 37 Chavchavadze St. Tbilisi ;Tel: 291-67-40/41/42 E-mail: Web-sait: Japan Embassy 7 Krtsanisi St. Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 2 75 21 11, Fax: +995 32 2 75 21 20 Kingdom of Sweden Embassy 15 Kipshidze St. Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 2 55 03 20 , Fax: +995 32 2 22 48 90 Kingdom of the Netherlands Embassy 20 Telavi St. Tbilisi Tel: 27 62 00, Fax: 27 62 32 People’s Republic of China Embassy 52 Barnov St. Tbilisi Tel: 225-22-86, 225-21-75, 225-26-70 E-mail: Republic of Bulgaria Embassy 15 Gorgasali Exit, 0105 Tbilisi, Georgia Tel: +995 32 291 01 94; +995 32 291 01 95 Fax: +99 532 291 02 70 Republic of Hungary Embassy 83 Lvovi Street, Tbilisi Tel: 39 90 08; E-mail: State of Israel Embassy 61 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tbilisi Tel: 95 17 09, 94 27 05 Embassy of Swiss Confederation’s Russian Federation Interests Section Embassy 51 Chavchavadze Av., Tbilisi Tel: 291-26-45, 291-24-06, 225-28-03 E-mail: Ukraine Embassy 75, Oniashvili St., Tbilisi Tel: 231-11-61, 231-12-02, 231-14-54 E-mail:; Consular Agency: 71, Melikishvili St., Batumi Tel: (8-88-222) 3-16-00/ 3-14-78 Republic of Turkey Embassy 35 Chavchavadze Ave., Tbilisi Tel: 225-20-72/73/74/76 Consulate General in Batumi 9 Ninoshvili Street, Batumi Tel: 422 25 58 00 Republic of Azerbaijan Embassy Kipshidze II-bl . N1., Tbilisi Tel: 225-26-39, 225-35-26/27/28 E-mail: Address: Dumbadze str. 14, Batumi Tel: 222-7-67-00; Fax: 222-7-34-43 Republic of Armenia Embassy 4 Tetelashvili St. Tbilisi Tel: 95-94-43, 95-17-23, 95-44-08 E-mail: Web: Consulate General, Batumi Address: Batumi, Gogebashvili str. 32, Apt. 16 Kingdom of Spain Embassy Rustaveli Ave. 24, I floor, Tbilisi Tel: 230-54-64 E-mail: emb.tiflis@maec.esRomania Embassy


TBILISI GUIDE 7 Kushitashvili St., Tbilisi Tel: 38-53-10; 25-00-98/97 E-mail: Republic of Poland Embassy 19 Brothers Zubalashvili St., Tbilisi Tel: 292-03-98 Web-site: Republic of Iraq Embassy Kobuleti str. 16, Tbilisi Tel: 291 35 96; 229 07 93 E-mail: Federative Republic of Brazil Embassy Chanturia street 6/2, Tbilisi Tel.: +995-32-293-2419 Fax.: +995-32-293-2416 Islamic Republic of Iran Embassy 80, I.Chavchavadze St. Tbilisi, Tel: 291-36-56, 291-36-58, 291-36-59, 291-36-60; Fax: 291-36-28 E-mail: United Nations Office Address: 9 Eristavi St. Tbilisi Tel: 225-11-26/28, 225-11-29/31 Fax: 225-02-71/72 E-mail: Web-site: International Monetary Fund Office Address : 4 Freedom Sq., GMT Plaza, Tbilisi Tel: 292-04-32/33/34 E-mail: Web-site: Asian Development Bank Georgian Resident Mission Address: 1, G. Tabidze Street

Freedom Square 0114 Tbilisi, Georgia Tel: +995 32 225 06 19 E-mail:; Web-site: World Bank Office Address : 5a Chavchavadze Av., lane-I, Tbilisi, Georgia ; Tel: 291-30-96, 291-26-89/59 Web-site: Regional Office of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Address: 6 Marjanishvili St. Tbilisi Tel: 244 74 00, 292 05 13, 292 05 14 Web-site: Representation of the Council of Europe in Georgia Address : 26 Br. Kakabadze, Tbilisi Tel: 995 32 291 38 70/71/72/73 Fax: 995 32 291 38 74 Web-site: Embassy of the Slovak Republic Address: Chancery: 85 Irakli Abashidze St. Tbilisi, 0162 Georgia Consular Office: 38 Nino Chkheidze St. Tbilisi, 0102 Georgia Phone: 2 222 4437, 2 296 1913 e-mail:

Hotels in Georgia TBILISI MARRIOTT Tbilisi , 13 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 77 92 00, COURTYARD MARRIOTT Tbilisi , 4 Freedom Sq. Tel: 77 91 00 RADISSON BLU HOTEL, TBILISI Rose Revolution Square 1 0108, Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 402200 RADISSON BLU HOTEL, BATUMI Ninoshvili Str. 1, 6000 Bat’umi, Georgia Tel: 8 422255555 SHERATON METECHI PALACE Tbilisi , 20 Telavi St. Tel: 77 20 20, SHERATON BATUMI 28 Rustaveli Street • Batumi Tel: (995)(422) 229000 HOLIDAY INN TBILISI Business hotel Addr: 1, 26 May Square Tel: +995 32 230 00 99 E-mail: Website: BETSY’S HOTEL With Marvellous Tbilisi Views Addr: 32/34 Makashvili St. Tbilisi Tel: +995 32 293 14 04; +995 32 292 39 96 Fax: +995 32 99 93 11 E-mail: Website:

Restaurants CORNER HOUSE Tbilisi, I. Chavchavadze ave. 10, Tel: 0322 47 00 49; Email: RESTAURANT BARAKONI Restaurant with healthy food. Georgian-European Cuisine Agmashenebeli Alley 13th Phone: 555 77 33 77 CHARDIN 12 Tbilisi , 12 Chardin St. , Tel: 92 32 38 CAFE 78 Best of the East and the West Lado Asatiani 33, SOLOLAKI 032 2305785; 574736290 BREAD HOUSE Tbilisi , 7 Gorgasali St. , Tel: 30 30 30 BUFETTI - ITALIAN RESTAURANT Tbilisi , 31 I. Abashidze St. , Tel: 22 49 61 DZVELI SAKHLI Tbilisi , 3 Right embankment , Tel: 92 34 97, 36 53 65, Fax: 98 27 81 IN THE SHADOW OF METEKHI Tbilisi , 29a Tsamebuli Ave. , Tel: 77 93 83, Fax: 77 93 83 SAKURA - JAPANESE RESTAURANT Tbilisi , 29 I. Abashidze St. , Tel: 29 31 08, Fax: 29 31 08 SIANGAN - CHINESE RESTAURANT Tbilisi , 41 Peking St , Tel: 37 96 88 VERA STEAK HOUSE Tbilisi , 37a Kostava St , Tel: 98 37 67 BELLE DE JOUR 29 I. Abashidze str, Tbilisi; Tel: (+995 32) 230 30 30 VONG 31 I. Abashidze str, Tbilisi Tel: (+995 32) 230 30 30 BRASSERIE L’EXPRESS 14 Chardin str, Tbilisi Tel: (+995 32) 230 30 30 TWO SIDE PARTY CLUB 7 Bambis Rigi, Tbilisi Tel: (+995 32) 230 30 30

SH. RUSTAVELI STATE THEATRE Tbilisi. 17 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 93 65 83, Fax: 99 63 73 TBILISI STATE MARIONETTE THEATRE Tbilisi. 26 Shavteli St. Tel: 98 65 89, Fax: 98 65 89 Z. PALIASHVILI TBILISI STATE THEATRE OF OPERA AND BALLET Tbilisi. 25 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 98 32 49, Fax: 98 32 50

Galleries ART GALLERY LINE Tbilisi. 44 Leselidze St. BAIA GALLERY Tbilisi. 10 Chardin St. Tel: 75 45 10 GALLERY Tbilisi. 12 Erekle II St. Tel: 93 12 89

Real Estate International Real Estate Company (IREC) Tbilisi. 9 P. Aslanidi St. Tel: +995 32 238 058 Mob: 599 95 76 71 Email:

GSS Car rental offers a convenient service for those who are interested in renting car in Georgia. Rental fleet mainly consist of Japanese made SUV’s, the company has various models of cars including sedans and minivans which are in good technical condition. Contact information: Email: Address: Shalva Dadiani 10

Cinemas AKHMETELI Tbilisi. “Akhmeteli” Subway Station Tel: 58 66 69 AMIRANI Tbilisi. 36 Kostava St. Tel: 99 99 55, RUSTAVELI Tbilisi. 5 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 92 03 57, 92 02 85, SAKARTVELO Tbilisi. 2/9 Guramishvili Ave. Tel: 8 322308080,

LIMELIGHTTRAVELINFOCENTER Address: 13 Sioni Street, 0105, Tbilisi (at the end of Shardeni Street) Phone: +995 322 999 123 E-mail: Web-page: Facebook page:

Theatres A. GRIBOEDOV RUSSIAN STATE DRAMA THEATRE Tbilisi. 2 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 93 58 11, Fax: 93 31 15 INDEPENDENT THEATRE Tbilisi. 2 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 98 58 21, Fax: 93 31 15 K. MARJANISHVILI STATE ACADEMIC THEATRE Tbilisi. 8 Marjanishvili St. Tel: 95 35 82, Fax: 95 40 01 M. TUMANISHVILI CINEMA ACTORS THEATRE Tbilisi. 164 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tel: 35 31 52, 34 28 99, Fax: 35 01 94 METEKHI – THEATRE OF GEORGIAN NATIONAL BALLET Tbilisi. 69 Balanchivadze St. Tel: (99) 20 22 10 MUSIC AND DRAMATIC STATE THEATRE Tbilisi. 182 Agmashenebeli Ave. Tel: 34 80 90, Fax: 34 80 90 NABADI - GEORGIAN FOLKLORE THEATRE Tbilisi. 19 Rustaveli Ave. Tel: 98 99 91 S. AKHMETELI STATE DRAMATIC THEATRE Tbilisi. 8 I. Vekua St. Tel: 62 59 73




October 31, 2016 #167