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ISET Economist Blog

A blog about economics in the South Caucasus.
Jun
30

Mortgage Subsidy – Encouraging Borrowing in the Midst of a Crisis

On 28 May, Georgia announced its fourth anti-crisis plan, in which the government will subsidize 4 per cent of the interest rate of mortgage loans for five years. The subsidy will be issued for loans not exceeding 200,000 GEL and will only apply to those taking mortgages for the purchase of residential apartments that are newly built or under construction, from 1 June 2020 to 1 January 2021. The state will also ensure the completion of ongoing construction. Moreover, the state will issue loan guarantees on mortgages to the amount of 20 per cent of their ...
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Jun
22

The Impact of Food Safety Regulations on Agricultural Trade

From a trade perspective, the most important aspects of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement, signed on 27 June 2014, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), are the Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures and the food safety standards and technical regulations required for access to European markets. Georgia’s export to the EU is still rather limited, and one possible cause for this deficiency, amongst others, is the limited capacity to comply with food safety regulations and standards. The DCFTA is, moreover, different from othe...
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Jun
19

Seasonal Effects and COVID Lockdown Combined Close the Generation-Consumption Gap in April

THE GAP CLOSES In April 2020, total generation and consumption nearly balanced (944 mln kWh of generation and 941 mln kWh of consumption), with power generation exceeding consumption by only 3 mln. kWh (corresponding to 0.3% of total generation: Figure 1). This occurred due to the simultaneous decrease in total consumption (7%) and total generation (2%). Interestingly, over the same period, wind power generation increased by a remarkable 23% compared to April 2019. One year before, in April 2019, the difference between total generation and consumption ha...
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Jun
12

Playing Against the Odds: What’s at Stake for Georgia as It Bets on the Tourism Revival Strategy?

Georgia reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic by immediately introducing aggressive measures. Closing international borders, declaring a state of emergency, shutting down public transportation, banning local travel and public gatherings, closing restaurants and shopping malls, and introducing a nighttime curfew—these are all instruments that were used by the country’s government and health authorities to stop the spread of the virus. As a result, the health system was not overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients. As of June 12th Georgia has had 837 confirmed corona...
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Jun
10

Could the Government Act as Coordinator?

In Avchala, in the middle of nowhere, you might be surprised to find the busy “Craftsmen’s City” or “Khelosnebis Kalaki” as it is called in Georgian. It is built on a 4-ha plot where there used to be a large carpet manufacturing plant in Soviet times, which vanished with the Soviet Union and turned into a concrete carcass surrounded by a swamp. Luckily, ten years ago, a man called Irakli bought this territory with the intention of renting it out1 — though it was not an easy task! At a minimum, Irakli had to provide basic conditions for people to mov...
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May
18

Agricultural Anti-Crisis Plan Assessment

Agricultural and rural development play an important role in the country’s socio-economic development. The restrictions imposed during the pandemic have hindered spring agricultural works which has significantly worsened conditions for farmers and stalled their future potential. Consequently, the Georgian government developed an anti-crisis plan, “Caring for Farmers and Agriculture”, that was presented on 12 March. The proposal entails two forms of aid: direct assistance and sectorial support. Table 1 summarizes each component of the plan: Table 1. Suppo...
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