ISET

On 18th of October, ISET Policy Institute together with its partner organizations: Georgian Farmers’ Association (GFA), Civil Development Agency (CiDA), Export Development Association (EDA), and Association Atinati presented a new project: Food and Agriculture SME Support Initiative (FASSI).

The project's main objective is to strengthen the capacity of Business Support Organisations (BSOs) in the food and agriculture sectors so that they may more effectively assist their members to comply with the new regulations and gain access to the EU market.

As a first step towards achieving this goal, ISET PI carried out a needs assessment among 47 BSOs and 114 enterprises and conducted interviews with state entities. The results showed clearly that BSOs need to gain trust among their member companies and potential members. There is a definite need for clear communication, strong organizational structures and extensive knowledge of economic matters, including the DCFTA.

Gigla Mikautadze, the manager of ISET’s “ReforMeter” project, was invited by the International Monetary Fund to the annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the IMF which took a place in Washington D.C. October 9-14. The participants of the event discussed the current trends in the global economy, government policies and strategies for poverty reduction. Gigla Mikautadze, within the Civil Society Forum, presented the concept of ReforMeter to civil society activists from 27 countries and answered their questions.

The annual meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group (WBG) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bring together central bankers, ministers of finance and development, parliamentarians, private sector executives, representatives from civil society organizations and academics to discuss issues of global concern, including the global economic outlook, poverty eradication, economic development, and aid effectiveness.

On September 27, 2017, the first assessment of Pension Reform was conducted, within “ReforMeter”. Based on the Government Survey, 38.8% of the reform is already implemented. At this stage, the reform concept is elaborated and approved by the Government. In October, the draft law will be publicly available. The pension fund functions and obligations are formulated. The regulatory body is defined. Pension system operating rules are designed.

The reform was also evaluated by the reform stakeholders. They underlined that the reform concept was changed many times, and the last version is not still available. Hence, they were not aware of the final concept of the private pension savings (II Pillar) system, as well the indexation mechanisms of social pensions. According to the Ministry of Economy, the draft law on private pension savings will be published the first week of October.

The VET reform assessment was conducted on October 4, 2017. According to the Government Survey, 80% of 2013-2017 Action Plan, and 50% of the entire reform, which is scheduled to last until 2020, has been implemented. The survey also showed how the reform, including launch of the dual education system, which took off in 2013 revamped the whole structure of vocational education system. However, it will be difficult to achieve the desired results without active involvement of the private sector.

The reform was evaluated by the Stakeholder Group with a score of 5.76 out of 10.

ISET continues its student policy paper seminar series for the institute's (now graduated) second-year students. This time, Tatia Sosiashvili, Megi Tsikoridze, Nino Aladashvili, and Sopo Basilidze presented their joint paper on tax administration in Georgia. Their project, entitled “Current Challenges in Tax Administration (VAT)”, was supervised by Eric Livny, President of ISET and the ISET Policy Institute, and Sophiko Skhirtladze, an ISET Resident Faculty member and head of the Private Sector Development Policy Research Center.

The students explained that tax administration is an important tool for the government to implement and enforce tax laws and receive mandates by law. It includes the management of taxpayers’ registration, including the detection of non-registration and false registration; the processing of tax returns, withholdings and third-party information; the verification or examination of the correctness and completeness of received information; the process of enforced debt collection, and the handling of administrative appeals and complaints.

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