Presidential Palace in Avlabari district of Tbilisi. Civil.ge file photo
Georgian President’s office said on November 6 it would have to switch off outdoor lighting of the presidential palace due to anticipated funding cuts by GEL 4.93 million (about USD 2.97 million).
President’s spokesperson said in a statement that a decision had been made to turn off presidential palace’s outdoor lighting, except of those required for security reasons, “because of reduction of funding of President’s administration under the new budget.”
Funding of the President’s administration has not yet been cut, although it is planned from next year.
According to the draft of 2013 state budget, submitted by the government to the Parliament for consideration, funding of President’s administration will go down from this year’s GEL 14.16 million (about USD 8.53 million) to GEL 9.23 million (about USD 5.56 million) in 2013.
PM Bidzina Ivanishvili said on November 2 that his government would cut funding of the president’s office and added that the state was spending GEL 800,000 (about USD 480,000) annually to cover presidential palace’s electricity bill.
President’s office was located in the state chancellery, sharing this government building with PM’s office, National Security Council and some other state agencies. In July, 2009 President Saakashvili moved to the glass-domed presidential palace, which was built in 2004-2009.
Planned GEL 9.23 million will be the lowest funding for President Saakashvili’s office in last eight years.
President’s administration’s funding stood at GEL 8.45 million in 2004, increasing to GEL 10.3 million in 2005 and further peaking to GEL 22.2 million in 2007 after which it went to downward trend to GEL 21.6 million in 2008; GEL 20.2 million in 2009; GEL 17 million in 2010 and GEL 14 million in 2011.
In addition to cutting presidential administration’s funds, the new government plans to reduce five-fold president’s discretionary fund in 2013.
In 2012 president’s reserve fund stood at GEL 50 million; according to the draft of next year’s budget this figure should go down to GEL 10 million.