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Private sector and human-resource development in Georgia

     Экономика и экономическая теория



Government’s export promotion policy. Georgian export promotion agency. Foreign investment promotion. Government’s foreign investment promotion policy. Foreign investment advisory council. Taxation system and tax rates in Georgia.

Ключевые слова: Georgia

Рубрика: Экономика и экономическая теория

Предмет: Экономика

Вид: курсовая работа

Язык: русский

Прислал: Лаша Марташвили Георгиевич

Дата добавления: 24.08.2005

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TBILISI, GEORGIA

Private Sector and Human-resource Development in Georgia

Author: Lasha Martashvili

E-mail: lmg@bk.ru

(18.02.2004)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • 1. Government Policies 5
    • 1.1 Government promotion policies of small and medium size enterprises 5
    • 1.2 National Investment Agency of Georgia 5
    • 1.3 Georgian Investment Center 5
      • 1.2.1 Government's Export Promotion Policy 6
      • 1.2.2 Georgian Export Promotion Agency (GEPA) 9
    • 1.4 Foreign Investment Promotion 14
      • 1.3.1 Government's Foreign Investment Promotion Policy 14
      • 1.3.2 Foreign Investment Advisory Council (FIAC) 21
    • 1.5 Tax Regime 23
      • 1.3.3 Taxation System and Tax Rates in Georgia 23
      • 1.3.4 Existing Taxation Practices 34
      • 1.3.5 Tax Reform Areas 38
    • 1.6 Legislative Basis for the Operation of the Private Companies 44
      • 1.5.1 Law of Georgia on Entrepreneurs (LoE) (Corporate Law) 44
      • 1.5.2 Law of Georgia on Securities Market (SML) 51
      • 1.5.3 Employment Regulations in Georgia 57
      • 1.5.4 Regulations about Real Estate in Georgia 59
    • 1.7 The Business Environment in Georgia 61
    • 1.8 Institutional Arrangements 64
      • 1.3.1 Securities Industry 64
  • 2. Society 65
    • 2.1 Poverty issues 65
  • 3. Economics 70
    • 3.1 Main economic indicators 70
    • 3.2 Agriculture 77
    • 3.3 Trade 104
    • 3.4 Construction 106
  • 4. Business 110
    • 4.1 Company Registration and Licensing System 110
      • 4.1.1 Company Registration System 110
      • 4.1.2 Company Licensing System 117
    • 4.2 Local Enterprises 119
      • 4.1.3 Joint Stock Companies traded at Georgian Stock Exchange 120
      • 4.1.4 Joint Stock Companies not traded at Georgian Stock Exchange 132
    • 4.3 Human-Resource Development in the Private Sector 134
  • 5. Other Donors' Activities 138
    • 5.1 The World Bank and IMF 138
      • 5.1.1 List of the Active World Bank Projects in Georgia 138
      • S - Satisfactory 138
      • U - Unsatisfactory 138
      • 5.1.2 List of the Closed World Bank Projects in Georgia 139
      • 5.1.3 Description of the Closed World Bank Projects in Georgia 140
      • 5.1.4 The World Bank and IMF Cooperation in Georgia 149
      • 5.1.5 The World Bank Country Assistance Strategy for Georgia 154
      • 5.1.6 The World Bank Partners in Georgia 161
    • 5.2 USAID 162
    • 5.3 EBRD 162
    • 5.4 EU 162
    • 5.5 GTZ 163
    • 5.6 CIDA 163
    • 5.7 DFID 163
    • 5.8 The Government of the Netherlands 163
    • 5.9 IFAD 164
    • 5.10 UNDP 164
    • 5.11 UNICEF 164

Currency

(Exchange rate as of 01 Feb. 2004)

Currency Unit = Georgian Lari (GEL)

1 USD = 2.11 GEL

1.0 GEL = 0.47 USD

Abbreviations and Acronyms

CAS

Country Assistance Strategy of the World Bank

CFAA

Country Financial Accountability Assessment

CIS

Commonwealth of Independent States

CPIA

Country Policy and Institutional Assessment

DFID

Department for International Development, U.K.

EBRD

European Bank for Reconstruction & Development

EDPRP

Economic Dev't & Poverty Reduction Program

EU

European Union

FAO

Food and Agriculture Organization

FDI

Foreign Direct Investment

FIAS

Foreign Investment Advisory Service

FSAP

Financial Sector Assessment Program

FSU

Former Soviet Union

FY

Fiscal Year

GDP

Gross Domestic Product

GEL

Georgian Lari

GNP

Gross National Product

GoG

Government of Georgia

GSE

Georgian Stock Exchange

GTZ

German Technical Cooperation

IDA

International Development Association

IDF

Institutional Development Fund

IDP

Internally Displaced Persons

IFC

International Finance Corporation

IMF

International Monetary Fund

IOSCO

The International Organization of Securities Commissions

JSC

Joint Stock Company

KfW

German Financial Cooperation

LLC

Limited Liability Company

MDGs

Millennium Development Goals

MoF

Ministry of Finance

NBG

National Bank of Georgia

NGO

Non-Governmental Organization

NBG

National Bank of Georgia

NGO

Non-Governmental Organization

OECD

Organization For Economic Coop'n & Development

PER

Public Expenditure Review

PPP

Purchasing Power Parity

PRGF

Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility

PRSP

Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper

SAC

Structural Adjustment Credit

SATAC

Structural Adjustment Technical Assistance Credit

SEC

Security and Exchange Commission

SIDA

Swedish International Development Agency

SIF

Social Investment Fund

SME

Small and Medium Enterprises

SRS

Structural Reform Support Project

TACIS

Technical Assistance to the CIS (EU)

UNDP

United Nations Development Program

UNHCR

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

USAID

United States Agency for International Development

VAT

Value Added Tax

WTO

World Trade Organization

1. Government Policies

1.1 Government promotion policies of small and medium size enterprises

[To be described:] "Small and Medium Enterprise State Support Program for 2002 - 2004 in Georgia"

[To be described:] Law of Georgia "On Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises"

1.2 National Investment Agency of Georgia

[To be described:] Law of Georgia "On National Investment Agency of Georgia"

[To be described:] Activities of the National Investment Agency of Georgia

1.3 Georgian Investment Center

[To be described:] Activities of the Georgian Investment Centre1.2.1 Government's Export Promotion Policy

Foreign Trade Regimes. Reforms carried out in recent years in Georgia, including serious legal reforms, are working successfully to create a favourable foreign trade regime in the country. Since 1995 the following major reforms have taken place in Georgian legislation:

· The system of quotas has been eliminated.

· Products included in the nation's export embargo policy include only works of art and antiques and items of national historical importance.

· There is no customs duty for exports in Georgia.

· A fiscal policy aimed at stimulating exports has been introduced whereby all export goods are free of VAT and excise duty;

Export of goods requiring an export license have been reduced to the following classes:

Collections and collectors' pieces of zoological, botanical, mineral, anatomical, historical, archaeological, paleonthological, ethnographic or numismatic interest (HS - 9705);

Wood and timber (4401, 4403, 4404, 4406, 4407);

Seeds of Caucasus Pine (120999100);

Ferrous and non-ferrous metal scrap (7204, 7404, 7602).

The system of compulsory registration of foreign trade contracts was eliminated in November 1997.

The establishment of favourable trade regimes with partner countries through bilateral and multilateral agreements has commenced. During the period 1992 - 1998, Georgia signed trade agreements with 22 countries. Agreements on free trade have been signed with eight CIS countries and Georgia already has working free trade agreements with Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. Currently a multilateral agreement on CIS free trade zone is being enforced. According to these agreements signatories to the agreement need not use customs duties and taxes for exports or imports of the goods originated in the territory of one party and destined to the territory of the other party.


Furthermore, Georgia has become a part of several international conventions.


On October 6, 1999 Georgia became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) which granted Georgia the status of the Most Favoured Nation with 135 WTO member countries. Through the mechanisms of this organisation, Georgia will be protected from discrimination, unfair competition, falsification and unjustified limitations.


In 1996 Georgia signed an agreement on partnership and cooperation with the European Union which deals with economic relations in almost every sector. In fact the agreement covers all sectors of the economy.


In 1999 Georgia became a member of the Council of Europe with full rights, which will further facilitate trade-economic relations between Georgia and member countries of the European Union.


Many countries have granted to Georgia reductions in import customs taxes to their countries, under the General System of Preferences. These include the countries of the European Union, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Canada and Japan. This is one of the most important influences on the successful growth of exports for Georgia. The effective use of facilities such as GSP will substantially promote Georgian export development.

Law of Georgia "On Technical Barriers to Trade". The law "On Technical Barriers to Trade" lays down the basis for eliminating the technical barriers to trade during the process of the preparation, adoption and application of the technical regulations, standards and the procedures for the assessment of conformity.

The national technical regulations and standards should not create unnecessary obstacles to trade, which will put national products in favourable conditions. Therefore, the development of the national technical regulations and standards should be carried out on the basis of a direct use of the international standards.

Georgian legislation did not envisage the concept of technical regulations. The concept of technical regulations was defined by Law of Georgia "On Standardization" adopted in 1999. The technical regulations is a legal act, which defines the technical specifications for products or service, which is done directly or by means of referring to Georgian standards and requiring that complying with these standards is compulsory.

The principles of the state standards that are effective in Georgia envisage the application of the national standards on a compulsory basis from the moments of its effectiveness. However, based on the principles that define the standards as voluntary, the international practice envisages two-stage approach to making a standard as mandatory requirement: the standard that was adopted by national body is optional and it may be used by any party, however it will become mandatory, if it is defined by:

The legislation;

Such stipulation is indicated in the technical regulations;

A producer or supplier of services assumed such responsibility by the assessment of conformity.

The first chapter of the present draft law lays down the legal basis for eliminating the technical barriers to trade during the process of the preparation, adoption and application of the technical regulations, standards and the procedures for the assessment of conformity.

It defines the terms, including "Technical barriers to trade", which in fact is the discrepancy in requirements from those used at a national level or in international practice with respect to the technical regulations, standards and the procedures for the assessment of conformity.

It defines the different categories of technical regulations, which include:

Legislative acts, the decrees of the President of Georgia, which consist of the product requirements;

The national standards, the application of which is mandatory;

The agency specific normative acts issued by government bodies, the competency of which, according to the legislation of Georgia, includes laying down the mandatory product requirements.

The second chapter defines the requirements to the content of technical regulations, preparation of technical regulations and procedures for the assessment of conformity, coordination of the activities related to the development of technical regulations, and recognizing the technical regulations of foreign countries as an equivalent to the national technical regulations.

Chapter three defines the procedure of applying technical regulations and standards, which includes making references to standards in technical regulations, fulfillment of standards as a mandatory requirement, fulfillment of standards as a voluntary requirement, and the national arrangements for applying the technical regulations and standards with respect to the national and imported products.

Chapter four defines the principles of providing information relating to technical barriers to trade. The main emphasis is placed on the Central Information Center of Standards, the main function of which is the relationship with the World Trade Organization. The Central Information Center of Standards provides information about the technical regulations, standards and the procedures for the assessment of conformity that are already developed or are in the process of development. It should carry out the coordination of activities of the centers set up in this field by other government bodies.

Chapter five defines the authority and responsibility of the National Standardizing Body and other government bodies.

Chapter six lays down the principles of the state control and supervision on complying with the requirements of technical regulations, as well as the responsibility for violating the requirements of the law.

Chapter seven states that the process of developing technical regulations has to be financed by the state on a mandatory basis.

Chapter eight contains the provisional clauses, which states that the government bodies should adopt and publish those technical regulations, which envisage complying on a mandatory basis with the standards that ensure the quality of products, processes and service, security, protection of human life, protection of the health, property and environment. With this respect it will be significant to employ, whenever developing the technical regulations, the directives issued by the countries that are members of the European Union.

Chapter nine defines the amendments that have to be made into Georgian legislation after this law becomes effective.

The Law of Georgia "On Technical Barriers to Trade" should initiate the practical efforts towards the preparation, adoption and application of the technical regulations, which will be step forward towards setting up voluntary standardization system that is one of the attributes of modern market relationships.

1.2.2 Georgian Export Promotion Agency (GEPA)

The Georgian Export Promotion Agency was set up by the Georgian Government and the European Union's Technical Assistance Programme TACIS with the principal aim of assisting Georgian companies to increase exports and thus to stimulate an improvement in the country's trade balance. The GEPA was established in April 1999. Since then, the German Government's Technical Assistance Programme GTZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Technische Zusammenarbeit GmbH) has also invested in the agency both in its personnel and in its activities.

GEPA supports Georgian business interests in the global marketplace, assists in forging business alliances, facilitates establishment of international business relationships. GEPA provides comprehensive information on business opportunities both for Georgian and overseas companies.

Export Information Center. GEPA Export Information Centre (EIC) promotes Georgian companies and their products on the global marketplace. It offers the services of two Georgian business information officers and a librarian who work in cooperation with specialists from EU countries. The EIC holds a wide range trade information resources including reference materials, manuals and textbooks on exporting, sector related journals from overseas, CD-ROM and online databases, information on local and foreign markets, trade regulations and has wide access to trade leads databases.


The EIC services include but are not limited to:

Providing market information to Georgian exporters

Introducing Georgia and Georgian products to companies around the world

Assisting foreign companies in sourcing products in Georgia

Offering online trade leads both for Georgian exporters and overseas importers

Assisting Georgian companies in developing an export marketing strategy

Overseas Exhibitions and Trade Missions. GEPA is actively involved in preparing overseas business visits for Georgian business groups to meet with new trading partners; we also prepare and part finance Georgian sectors' participation at international exhibitions. Many foreign delegations, commercial and governmental, pay a visit to our agency during their visits to Tbilisi. Study tours for sectors with potential have been organized to Canada, UK and Germany.


With financial assistance from the German government's technical assistance programme, GTZ, GEPA part-finance participation of Georgian exporters in overseas trade shows/exhibitions. GEPA/GTZ have already assisted companies to take part in exhibitions in Germany, France, Italy and the Middle East.


Conditions for participation are that export products must be of export quality, prices examined by German specialists and a group of a minimum of three producers from one sector participates in each exhibition.

Training Center. GEPA offers a wide range of export training courses to Georgian businessmen, civil servants, and commercial banks, on subjects ranging from export pricing to utilizing e-commerce in exporting. All courses are taught by international and Georgian specialists in their given fields of specialization.

A new Training Programme that Georgian Export Promotion Agency offers to Georgian companies differs considerably from the Programme already conducted by GEPA within the framework of previous TACIS project. It includes an In-Company Training that is designed to meet the training needs of companies participating in GEPA's Export Development Program.


Customized programs have been developed for specific companies to increase the professional skills of company managers and staff and thereby help them improve their export activities. In-company training is considered as part of the consultancy service provided by GEPA to existing exporters and to companies with the potential to export. Format and content of training depends on business features of individual companies. Mostly practical exercises and case studies have been used to achieve the best results.

Alongside in-company training, GEPA continues to offer general training in Export Marketing, Export Promotion, Strategic Business Planning etc.



GEPA hopes that new arrangements run in the field of training, will be of real assistance to Georgian companies in enhancing their export marketing activities and in achieving increased export orders.

Publications. GEPA staff prepares a variety of publications for both Georgian exporters and overseas companies. These publications include Export Newsletter, Market Briefs, Fact Sheets and the Directory of Georgian Exporters. Recently a brochure on Georgian viticulture and winemaking was prepared in corporation with the Institute of Viticulture.

Export Newsletter. Export Newsletter is available both in print and electronic formats on our website. It is circulated to Georgian companies and international organizations. It includes information on opportunities outside Georgia for exporters, case studies on successful Georgian and foreign companies and an update on any changes in Georgian, and foreign legislation, which may affect exporters. It also advises of forthcoming exhibitions and incoming buying missions from overseas.

Market Briefs. Market Briefs are prepared in Georgian and are available for Georgian companies interested in specific industries and markets. Market briefs prepared to date are as follows:

1. UK Wine Market

2. Pipes' Market in Italy

3. Organic Food market in Germany

4. UK Nuts Market

5. Timber Market in Germany

6. UK Tea market

7. Intellectual Property - overview

8. EU Fertilizer Market

9. USA and EU Markets for Essential Oils

10. Wine Market in Japan

11. Mineral Waters in Japan

Sample Market Brief: Wine Market in Japan

Wine Market in Japan

1.

Market Overview

1.1

Market conditions

1.2

Trends in local production

1.3

Wine imports

1.4

Consumption trends

2.

Import regulations

2.1

Import restrictions and application procedures

2.2

Labelling requirements

2.3

Tariff rates

3.

Distribution Channels

4.

Consumption trends

4.1

Prices

4.2

Wine categories

4.3

Japanese consumption traditions

5.

Market Entry

5.1

Entering Japanese market

5.2

Wine sales promotion strategies

6.

Annexes

Sample Market Briefs: Mineral Waters in Japan

Mineral Waters in Japan

1.

Market Overview

1.1

Supply Trend

1.2

Import Trend

2.

Import System and Regulations

2.1

Imports Regulated by Food Sanitation Law

2.2

Tariff rates

2.3

Classification of Mineral Water

2.4

Labelling requirement and a labelling sample

2.5

Outline of Container/Packing Recycling Law

2.6

International Standards for Mineral Waters

3.

Distribution

3.1

Distribution Routes

3.2

The Function of Wholesalers

3.3

Distribution Expenses

3.4

Sales Promotions

4.

Consumption trends as shown by survey of retailers and consumers

4.1

Consumption trends seen in retailers

4.2

Trends revealed by consumer research

5.

Current Sales and consumption and future prospects

5.1

Current sales and consumption

5.2

Future prospects

6.

Advise on Accessing the Japanese Market

Appendix

1

Outline of provisions on mineral water provided for under the Foods Sanitation Law

2

Example Retail Price of Mineral Water

3

Selected domestic Suppliers and Importers

4

Wholesalers, Distribution Agents

5

Relevant Organization

6

Exhibitions and Trade Fair


1.4 Foreign Investment Promotion

1.3.1 Government's Foreign Investment Promotion Policy

Removing Administrative Barriers to Investment in Georgia. FIAS (Foreign Investment Advisory Service, a joint service of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank) conducted a study of administrative barriers to investment in Georgia. The principal counterpart for this project was the Presidential Commission on Support of the Private Businesses in Georgia. The Presidential Commission on Support of Private Businesses is the lead counterpart for this project (for more details refer to Paragraph 1.3.1 describing the activities of Foreign Investment Advisory Council - FIAC). The main objective of this study was to identify the major administrative impediments to investment and to recommend the steps for streamlining, simplifying and increasing transparency in order to help improve the environment for business in Georgia. Although the primary focus of the study was foreign investment, the administrative procedures and regulatory framework affect domestic investors as well. Therefore, applying the principle of national treatment (i.e. no preferential treatment for foreign investors), this study is intended to help strengthen the business environment for all investors--domestic and foreign alike.

The study covers the core administrative processes for:

· Establishing a business - including investor entry (visa and residency requirements for expatriates) and business registration.

· Locating a business - including land acquisition, site development, construction and operation.

· Operating a business - including taxation, trade regime and customs, licensing, permits, inspections, intellectual property issues, and product standardization.

Establishing a Business--Investor Entry and Business Registration. The procedures for obtaining entry visas are relatively transparent and present no significant administrative impediments. Most notably, foreign investors and expatriate employees do not require special work or residence permits to live and work in Georgia.

The court registration procedures have been simplified in the past 2 years. However, because of the lack of technical and human capacity, court registrars are unable to fulfill the provisions of the Law on Entrepreneurs aimed at guaranteeing timely service, ensuring public availability of information on companies, publishing data on newly registered companies, and protecting company names. The most pressing issues relate to length of time required to register (2 to 3 weeks) and to retrieve information on companies.

The principal recommendations for improving the business registration process and the access to company records include:

· Modernization of the registration and data filing systems by taking advantage of new technologies (including the internet) to speed up processing and to improve the access to information, as provided under the law.

· Centralization of the court registration system.

· Publication and dissemination of information on business registration procedures, requirements and fees.

· Resolution of the legal provisions for information disclosure under the Law on Entrepreneurs and the Tax Code.

Locating a Business. Locating, acquiring and constructing or rehabilitating real estate for business activities are not perceived as significant problems by either foreign or domestic investors in Georgia. The current system may not pose an overwhelming difficulty for investors because of the low volume of transactions and the institutionalized system of unofficial payments and influence peddling to facilitate the process. However, there are a number of specific areas where regulations, requirements, and procedures need to be clarified, simplified and streamlined. The report includes a number of detailed short and long-term recommendations for strengthening the laws related to the privatization of agricultural land and improving the quality of service provided by the various bureaus responsible for processing the permits necessary for property development and construction in Georgia.

One of the principal recommendations relates to the Law On Privatization of Agricultural Land. The set of laws on privatization of real estate exclude a legal basis for privatization of large agricultural holdings, all of which are presently held under government leases. To the extent that investment in commercial scale agriculture is viewed as having significant potential in Georgia, privatization of larger agricultural holdings is an appropriate next step. A law on privatization of large agricultural holdings is being developed and is an element of the government's longer-term plan for further development of property relationships. Presidential Decree 678 calls for elaboration of a new law on privatization of agricultural land and completion of the national land cadastre by the year 2005. Apparently a draft of such a law is already circulated in the Parliament. Enactment of this law should be a priority.

Operating a Business - Tax Administration. On the basis of interviews with representatives of the private sector, government officials, and technical assistance experts, it appears that the tax administration system is fraught with problems that seriously constrain the activities of private enterprises. The recurring themes voiced by the private sector as being burdensome for business included the complexity of the tax system, the lack of clarity in some aspects of the Tax Code and the sheer number of taxes itself. Foreign-owned enterprises seem to be particularly affected under the existing system. In keeping with the scope of this study, the discussion is focused on taxation administration. Recommendations on tax policy are confined to those issues that directly affect administrative procedures and impede business activity. It should be noted that the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and USAID are currently providing assistance to the Government of Georgia on taxation policy issues.

The main recommendations include the following (for more detailed discussion of tax issues please refer to the next paragraph - "1.4 Tax Regime"):

· Adopt and implement the proposed amendments to the Tax Code. These proposed amendments cover a number of policy and tax administration issues. They are broadly in line with IMF recommendations, except the Government proposal for the fixed tax and the elimination of the payroll tax.

· Simplify the procedures for filing VAT. The proposed measures include allowing quarterly, rather than monthly filings for small businesses.

· Establish an effective tax-refund system. The International Monetary Fund has outlined a refund strategy that includes limiting entitlement to immediate refunds, distinguishing claimants with a history of compliance, and using pre-refund audits for high-risk refund claims and post-refund audits for claims of lesser risk.

· Review the micro level target-based system for tax collection. It is important to distinguish between the fiscal macro targets which are an important aspect of revenue administration and micro or firm-level targets which are often arbitrarily established within tax jurisdictions. These targets must be realistic and they should be part of a number of efficiency and effectiveness indicators.

· Improve information compilation and dissemination. Taxpayers must be informed of changes in the Tax Code and related regulations, legal interpretations, and instructions in a timely manner. Also, a credible resource must be established to respond to queries offer binding interpretations of the Tax Code.

Operating a Business - Customs. The State Customs Department (SCD) operates an inland clearance system that requires considerable resources and logistical support for effective control of cargo. In practice, the current system is largely ineffective and prone to fraud and corruption. There is no compendium of the legislation on customs available to the customs service employees or the public. In the absence of common information and an official interpretation of the rules and regulations, the discretionary authority of individual customs officers and offices is strong thereby facilitating corruption. There is significant leakage of cargo transported for inland clearance. Some sources estimate that as much as 50 percent of fuel and cigarette imports are diverted.

Management of the SCD has suffered as a result of frequent changes in the management. Efforts to reform the SCD have been impeded by the lack of political will, competing political agendas, and the frequent changes in leadership. Under these circumstances, the inputs of external advisers have been marginalized and the reforms implemented by previous chairmen have been reversed in many instances. The detailed action plan prepared under the ITS contract and endorsed by the government has been stalled with only marginal progress. The customs reform committee established by the President to lead the reform effort has met irregularly.

The principal recommendations for strengthening and improving the customs service include:

· Implementation of the already approved customs reform program. This is a well developed and comprehensive program that can be implemented over time. It encompasses a number of the IMF and FIAS recommendations. One of the immediate tasks would be to assign priorities for implementation.

· In light of the decision not to renew the ITS contract, it is necessary to immediately develop and implement a framework for carrying out efficient pre-shipment inspection services if it is to be continued after December 30, 2001. The SCD clearly lacks the capacity or the expertise to carry out this function independently.

· Review of the existing regulations for the valuation of cargo and implementation of guidelines that are consistent with the provisions of GATT.

· Revision of the declaration processing procedures to eliminate contact between the import (or broker or freight forwarder) and the customs officer.

· Expansion of the ASYCUDA system to all major customs clearance offices.

· Implementation of risk-based criteria for selecting goods and documents to be examined at all locations where imported goods are cleared.

· Implementation of an information publication and dissemination program.

Operating a Business - Licensing and Permits. The existing regime for licenses has benefited from extensive efforts to streamline and simplify the legal framework for licenses. As a result, the current licensing procedures do not appear to present significant barriers to investment and business activity in Georgia, particularly compared with other former Soviet Union countries. However, some of the sectoral licensing laws and regulations do not conform to the provisions of the framework Law on Licensing.

The Law on Local Charges and related normative acts (including municipal regulations) are not entirely clear in defining the purpose and scope of permits. The criteria and conditions for authorizing and terminating permits (similar to licensing conditions) are not clearly specified in the laws and regulations. In effect, the enforcement of the permit system is arbitrary and subject to abuse of the compliance provisions and the assessment of violations. While this permit regime does not generally impede business in Georgia, it does create unequal conditions for newcomers and arbitrary enforcement can cause significant problems for individual companies.

The main recommendations for strengthening the framework for the system of licensing and permits and facilitating the streamlining and simplification of the current system in Georgia include:

· Passage and adoption of a strong and clear framework law and implementing regulations on the licensing and permit regimes.

· Review and rationalization of the number and level of legally permissible permits to avoid the proliferation of permits for revenue generation.

· Development of a basic set of guidelines on the procedures for processing and enforcing permits (similar to those in place for licenses).

· Development of a monitoring mechanism within the Ministry of Justice that will ensure consistent enforcement of provisions for permits.

· Publication and dissemination of information on the legally sanctioned licenses and permits (e.g., regulations, procedures, documentation requirements, fees and appeals mechanisms).

Operating a Business - Inspections. The passage of the Law on Supervising Entrepreneurial Activity represented the most recent of a series of attempts to streamline the business inspection process by state and local governments. It is, however, too early to assess the effect of this new law. At the time of the FIAS mission, the implementing regulations had not been completed and the law had not been fully implemented.

The main recommendations to strengthen the implementation of the new regime for inspections include:

· Articulate and publish the mandate of each inspectorate as well as information on definitions of violations, criteria for selecting businesses for inspection, the penalties that may be assessed under specific conditions, and the rights and responsibilities of inspectors and businesses.

· Halt extralegal inspectorate activity pending the registration of all sanctioned inspection activities.

· Establish and enforce procedures for conducting on-site inspections.

· Regulate the payment of penalties and fines resulting from inspections to a central cashier in order to avoid on-site payments and minimize opportunities for corruption.

· Coordinate and rationalize the activities of inspection agencies; implement initiatives for joint training and information sharing among inspection agencies; introduce a code of conduct for inspectors; and train inspectors to understand that their primary function is to ensure public health and safety.

Conclusions and Next Steps. There is a general agreement within Georgia that the existing environment for investment needs to improve if the country wishes to attract new FDI flows and secure the expansion of existing investments. This report has focused on the principal administrative barriers that increase the cost and risk of doing business in Georgia.

Pervasive corruption and the apparent lack of political will to implement reforms have emerged as two fundamental issues affecting the business environment in Georgia. While the degree of corruption may not be the worst in the region, it has a negative effect on business activity and increases the risks and costs of doing business in Georgia. The process of streamlining and simplifying administrative procedures must go hand-in-hand with anti-corruption programs. In a similar vein, it should be noted that number of reforms (e.g. Customs reform) have been stalled as a result of resistance to change and the apparent lack of political will effect change.

In addition to making recommendations for solving some of the regulatory, administrative, and institutional issues that need to be addressed in order to improve the business environment in Georgia, the report points out the areas where further review is necessary and where significant technical assistance is already being channeled, albeit with limited impact.

The experience of other countries clearly demonstrates that sustainable change cannot be achieved without government commitment at the highest political levels. Successful and sustained change requires leadership, strong champions, and shared goals among all stakeholders within the government and the private sector. On the basis of shared goals, the process of rationalizing, streamlining, and simplifying bureaucratic procedures can develop, gain momentum, and improve the values of government agencies and transform them into service-oriented organizations. A comprehensive approach to change is necessary, and commitment and time are essential ingredients. Procedural and institutional reforms will require the support of public servants at all levels of government, plus their support for changes in the systems of performance monitoring, evaluation, and rewards.

The Presidential Commission on Support of Private Business already exists as a champion of this initiative. However, the framework for the change agenda must include the participation and inputs of stakeholders at all levels. Stakeholders must be drawn from the public and private sectors. In addition, there is a role for the international donor community in this framework since the incorporation of related donor-sponsored initiatives must be integrated into the change agenda. Chapter V of the report proposes a framework for the development and implementation of the change agenda.

The institutional structure to support the change agenda should include:

· The Presidential Commission. The Commission should serve as the focal point of the change agenda and it should be given the mandate to promote and advocate reforms in collaboration with other parts of the Government.

· An implementation team. The staff of the commission's secretariat should constitute the core group of the implementation team. The responsibilities of the team would include the development of the Action Plan, coordination of implementation activities, solicitation of donor funds and resources to support reform, coordination of related initiatives, and regular reporting on progress to the Commission.

· A consultative committee. The committee should provide a mechanism for regular consultation with a broad group of stakeholders on various reform initiatives.

The above - mentioned Action Plan should be utilized to document the agreed-upon changes, establish priorities and timeline, provide a basis for accountability, and keep an ongoing record of progress. Therefore, it must be emphasized that the Action Plan is not a static document but one that must evolve over time.

Law of Georgia "On Investment Activity Promotion and Guarantees". On 12 November 1996 the Parliament of Georgia adopted the law of Georgia "On Investment Activity Promotion and Guarantees", which replaced the Law of the Republic of Georgia "On Investment Activity" adopted on 10 August 1991 and the Law of the Republic of Georgia "On Foreign Investments" adopted on 30 June 1995.

The Law defines the legal bases for realizing both foreign and local investments and their protection guarantees on the territory of Georgia. The purpose of the Law is to establish the investment-promotional regime in Georgia.

Investments. Investments shall be deemed to be all types of property and intellectual valuables or rights invested and applied for gaining possible profit in the investment activity carried out in the territory of Georgia, such as:

a) Monetary assets, a share, stocks and other securities;

b) Movable and immovable property (real estate) - land, buildings, structures, equipment and other material valuables;

c) Lease rights to land and the use of natural resources (including concession), patents, licenses, know-how, experience and other intellectual valuables;

d) Other property or intellectual valuables or rights provided for by the law.

Investor. An investor shall be deemed to be a physical (individual) or legal person, as well as an international organization investing in Georgia. A foreign investor shall be deemed to be:

a) A foreign citizen;

b) A stateless person temporarily residing on the territory of Georgia;

c) A Georgian citizen permanently residing abroad;

d) A legal person registered beyond Georgia.

An enterprise with a foreign investment of not less than 25% shall enjoy the same rights as the foreign investor.

1.3.2 Foreign Investment Advisory Council (FIAC)

In order to assist foreign investment inflow into Georgia, improve investment climate in the country and support private sector development, it became necessary to create a special government agency, which would serve the above-mentioned goals. Therefore, on March 30, 1997, according to the presidential decree N87, Foreign Investment Advisory Council (FIAC) was created under the supervision of the President of Georgia, intended to assist the development of the private sector and improve the investment environment in the country, to coordinate donors and donor financed projects, to monitor these projects and to ensure a transparency and accounting of foreign aid inflow into Georgia.


The Investment Council operates through its secretariat, which is responsible for the fulfilment of the responsibilities assigned to the Foreign Investment Advisory Council. The Secretariat of the Investment Council works in three directions:

Prepares the Council's meetings;

Cooperates with the donors and coordinates the donor financed projects;

Assists the private sector.


Preparation of the council's meetings. The secretariat of the council plans, prepares meeting and monitors their procession. The meetings are preceded by a preparatory phase, during which the Secretariat identifies priority issues, gathers relevant information, processes, analysis it and identifies a range of possible conclusions. One of the responsibilities of the Secretariat is to control the fulfilment of assigned works and appraise their compliance and produce relevant recommendations.

Cooperation with the donors and coordination of the donor financed projects. Activities related to the cooperation with donors and coordination of the donor-financed projects are a part of the Secretariat's daily job. The Secretariat of FIAC conducts permanent monitoring and control of the projects. Among the donor related activities, a notable obligation of the FIAC Secretariat is to identify the strategy of cooperation with the donors and direct flow of further assistance to relevant channels and to target further projects. Daily work of the FIAC Secretariat includes collection of information on problems related with investment projects and identification of ways of their solution. The council cooperates with short term missions of donors, organizes meetings, drafts agendas and prepares background information for topics of discussion for the Government members as well as for the President of Georgia. The FIAC Secretariat actively works on elaboration of financial-economic, and particularly international relations related legislation of Georgia.


Private sector related activities. To fulfil this obligation the council works in few directions. According to the presidential decree N1324, a Presidential Commission on Support of the Private Businesses in Georgia was formed in the year 2000. By means of close cooperation of the Commission and FIAS, it became possible to study all administrative barriers to investment (see above). As a result, the problems impeding the development of business in Georgia were identified. On the basis of the results of this study, the recommendations were drafted and action plan was compiled, which was approved by the president of Georgia. The commission of cooperation with investors conducts permanent monitoring of fulfilment of the action plan, appraises its fulfilment and prepares relevant recommendations. The Secretariat of Foreign Investment Advisory Council actively cooperates with other donor organizations in terms of the private sector development projects.

1.5 Tax Regime

1.3.3 Taxation System and Tax Rates in Georgia

Legal Framework. 1. Legal Framework The Tax Code of Georgia, adopted on June 13, 1997, Amended September 3, 1997; September 18, 1997; December 12, 1997; February 5, 1998; May 1, 1998; May 13, 1998; May 29, 1998; June 26, 1998; October 13, 1998; October 30, 1998; December 24, 1998; April 2, 1999; April 16, 1999; June 8, 1999; June 9, 1999; June 25, 1999; July 23, 1999; September 9, 1999; December 9, 1999; December 24, 1999; December 28, 1999; March 24, 2000; June 28, 2000; July 13, 2000; September 27, 2000; September 28, 2000; October 11, 2000; October 13, 2000; November 10, 2000; November 24, 2000; December 5, 2000; December 13, 2000; December 29, 2000; March 16, 2001; April 27, 2001; June 8, 2001. is the principal law on taxation policy and administration. Other legislation that regulate taxation include the Administrative Offences Code, the Criminal Code, bankruptcy legislation, customs legislation, the Law on the Road Fund of Georgia, and the Law on the Medical Insurance Fund of Georgia.

The taxation system in Georgia includes both national and local taxes; the latter are set by local authorities following guidelines and limits set forth in the Tax Code. Every taxpayer must register with their regional tax inspectorate and is given a tax identification number, which must be indicated on all tax documents.

Taxes Paid by Individuals, Individual Enterprises. 2. Taxes Paid by Individuals, Individual Enterprises

Income Tax. Income tax must be paid on wages and income earned from economic activity, including income received in non-monetary form. Physical persons, both resident and non-resident, individual enterprises, and entrepreneurs are subject to this tax. Under Georgian law, residents are physical persons in the territory of Georgia for more than 182 days during any 12-month period ending in a given tax year.

An individual enterprise is defined as an entity owned and managed by a single person, an enterprise run solely by family members, or a farm solely owned by an individual or members of that individual's family. Physical person entrepreneurs are individuals who engage in entrepreneurial activity without first establishing themselves as legal persons (and in accordance with the entrepreneurs law). Physical person entrepreneurs and individual enterprises with annual gross income equal to or less than 24,000 GEL are subject to a presumptive tax in lieu of an income tax. The presumptive tax is described in the next section.

Georgian residents must pay income tax on gross income from all sources (Georgian and non-Georgian) received during the tax year, regardless of where the income was earned or paid, less allowable deductions.

Non-residents must pay income tax, but only on income received from Georgian sources. Non-residents who engage in economic activities through a permanent establishment are subject to profit tax on gross income received during the tax year from Georgian sources connected with the permanent establishment, less allowable deductions.

Taxable income is composed of the following:




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