The Plenary Session of the Parliament

02 Oct 2019
The Plenary Session of the Parliament

The Members of Parliament served the minute of silence in commemoration of the deceased famous Georgian composer, Gia Kancheli.

The Speaker, Archil Talakvadze expressed his condolences about this fact. “Today, we lost a famous Georgian composer, Gia Kancheli at the age of 84. He was one of the persons giving art and melody to the life of the country. It is so sad that he has gone forever during the fall”.

As the session resumed to the agenda, MPs discussed the bill on Higher Education introduced by the Deputy Education Minister, Giorgi Vashakidze.

The bill admits entry of the youth residing on occupied territories to the higher institutions without the exams. The change envisages the transitional provision applying on 2019, and the permanent provision entitling the Education Minister for unidentified period to allow the entrants residing on occupied territories to universities in Georgia in a different manner. The change has been introduced with the II reading and hence, the hereof edition allows the student to enter the university unconditionally, which means that maintenance of his/her status will not depend on accumulation of the credits or other preconditions. As to financing, it will depend on the credits of the student.

The Chair of the Education, Science and Culture Committee, Mariam Jashi underlined the change: “We all remember the summer period when the blocked check-points have prevented to free movement and thus, in terms of the peacekeeping initiative and consolidation of our societies, this initiative is of utmost importance”.

MP Merab Kvaraia introduced with the II reading the bill on Code of Administrative Offenses envisaging administrative responsibility for unauthorized occupation of the land plot under municipal ownership (other than in Tbilisi) or unauthorized use thereof. MPs discussed with the II reading the bill on Code of Administrative Offenses and the deriving draft organic law on Municipal Code.

According to Goga Gulordava, the draft considers the administrative offense as deviation from the traffic route approved by the self-government bodies of Tbilisi during sightseeing the cultural heritage monuments within the city and special regular transfer without the agreement.

He also introduced with the I reading the bill on State Fees envisaging exemption of the LEPL Property Management Agency from the fees in re cases on Tbilisi Municipality Property in Common Courts.

After the technical break, MPs held the ballot.

MPs heard the report on Activity of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee for 2018 introduced by the Chair, Sofo Kiladze speaking about several directions of the activity: legislative, oversight, hearings of the accountable bodies and public relations.

The report provided cooperation with the international partners in human rights sphere etc. The Committee and Faction members, as well as other MPs expressed their opinion about the report. In the resuming speech,

S. Kiladze thanked the Committee members for their merit in protection of human rights, she also thanked all her colleagues for supporting issue of the acutest recommendations to the executive authority, including on Machalikashvili case, Khorava Street murder, acute social problems, child protection from violence and poverty etc. More than 300 recommendations have been issued and she responded to the opposition MPs that it is unfair to state that the Committee was inactive during 2018.

Naturally, no other statement can be expected from them other than destructive attitude which was clearly evident today. I doubt that National Movement and its various branches are so far from human rights as Washington from Tokyo. It is my impression and it was proved once again today”.

MPs resumed to the agenda and discussed with the I reading the bill on Code of Administrative Offenses.

As Koba Lursmanashvili noted, the bill is to regulate parking issues as it envisages the amount of the fines for unauthorized parking at the areas designated for the taxis, as well as parking in the bus line etc.

MPs heard the report on Activity of State Audit Service for 2018 introduced by the Auditor General Erekle Mekvabishvili.

The report provides the 5-year development strategy of SAS and the first year outcomes. SAS has made various actions during the first year for institutional, professional and organizational enhancement. “SAS activity for 2018 was held within the strategic goals, which first of all, included approximation to PEFA through increase of the state and municipal budget coverage indices. Besides, in 2018 we established the new audit direction – so-called horizontal audit focused on system gaps in public sector”, - the reporter noted.

The SAS, with its proactive approach and active engagement of the parties (Parliament and audit objects), implementation of recommendations has been improved from 43% to 60%, namely system recommendation improvement increased from 25% to 47%. As noted, SAS through the international experts works on formulation of the recommendation impact assessment. SAS aims to achieve higher index of recommendation implementation through automation of the process and e-monitoring system allowing the Parliament overseeing the Governmental activity and increasing efficiency of recommendations.

The reporter introduced the information about implementation of recommendations through cooperation with the key partners – Parliament, Government, law-enforcement agencies, society and international partners and spoke about internal administration and organizational culture, as well as security of the informational systems.

He also spoke about the challenges and future plans. Evaluating the report, the Speaker Archil Talakvadze stated that SAS is one of the strongest institutions with high trust of EU.

He thanked the SAS for their activity and emphasized the novelties: “90 audits, 85% coverage of the public sector, 12 efficiency audits – I hail improvement of efficiency audit and hail the novelties related to the recommendations monitoring system – indeed, the key of the Parliament to this system will serve as an important leverage for us to ensure intensive monitoring”, - the Speaker noted.

The Chair of the Education, Science and Culture Committee, Mariam Jashi gave the positive evaluation to the report: “Assessment of Deloitte is paramount for Georgia. We value the World Bank and USAID for recognizing you as the auditor of their programs. Monitoring of implementation of the recommendations is also optimistic. It is hard to resume main accents of various directions but capacity building of the State Audit Service is a complex issue and it is dynamics that is important for us instead of underlining the gaps and future capacities”.

M. Jashi asked the Auditor about sufficiency of the personnel for the scheduled audits and their capacity to report annually. Consideration of the audit is a good practice, though “It was preferable to start the consultations at the stage of development of the methods as we can issue the detailed recommendations according to the sectors concerning the assessment design”.

Independent MP Levan Gogichaishvili expressed his interest in enhancement of this institution. He asked the Auditor: “How would you evaluate, do the people really fear of your conclusions in various directions who expressed no good faith in budget consumption”.

He also asked about the audit in City Hall. The Chair of the Faction “European Georgia”, Otar Kakhidze asked about the basis for the SAS to declare about the system corruption in the municipalities.

According to the Chair of the Sector Economy and Economic Policy Committee, Roman Kakulia, it would be interesting to outline the process audit in the report. In state agencies and Ministries, other than they consume the budget, the administrative process is not homogenous and there are no institutionally outlined functions – there is the Government, Prime Minister and his Office to oversee the processes therein but the processes are still held in a different manner.

So, here is the question about how homogenous is the administration in the Ministries. Some Minister totally abstains from the briefings, some lack of the conceptual documents, and there is no hierarchy at all in some Ministries. In the audit part when you speak about efficiency, do you intend to outline it in efficiency audit to ensure analysis of the efficiency approaches of administration in the state agencies and to provide the Parliament with this analysis”.

The reporter answered all other questions.

The Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee, Irakli Kovzanadze gave high estimation to the SAS activity: “The audits covered 11 bl GEL while it covered 9.5 in 2018. The index of implementation of SAS recommendations has increased from 43% to 60%. It was scheduled and the target is achieved. And the index of system recommendations has increased from 25% to 47%. 33 documents have been submitted to the law-enforcement agencies. Here, it was asked about the fate of these documents and I believe, the Budget Committee and Legal Committee shall jointly ensure monitoring of the conclusions. Two Committees in cooperation with the Prosecutor’s Office will monitor this process. The SAS enjoys the increased trust of the international auditors and in 2018, SAS became the World Bank auditing company. SAS, after the quality control procedures, is recognized as the USAID auditor and I believe it is the merit of Mr. Mekvabishvili as well. In preceding years, SAS audit was being held by the Interim Commission in the Parliament. As a result of the new Rules of Procedure, this year we have the conclusion made by the great four instead of MPs enclosed to the report – it concerns the financial-consolidated reports and is unconditional! It indicates to high standard of SAS in financial audit and reporting. In 2016, the Parliament introduced the changes to the Constitution, and recognizing the law on State Audit Service as an organic, have created the basis for capacity building of the SAS and high independency for efficient and operative implementation of the tasks”.

MPs asked the specifying questions.

The Deputy Chair of the Budget Committee, Paata Kvizhinadze estimated the report and underlined the role of SAS for the country.

The Speaker, Archil Talakvadze addressed his colleagues: “The task of the Parliament means that it is the common task for the Majority and the opposition. So, we need to ensure implementation of these recommendations through the constructive regime”.

He emphasized two aspects – efficiency improvement is a constant process requiring vast resources. “We all remember that PM Gakharia expressed his messages in the Parliament and one of his messages concerned efficiency and the Auditor General Irakli Mekvabishvili also gave us the examples where year over year we enjoy efficiency improvement as a result of SAS recommendations. For instance, it was the traffic safety, emergency calls and accident prioritization program. When I was the member of the Budget Committee, I remember the SAS submitting these recommendations. It means that annually, these recommendations are shared in real life but there still are more resources for further improvement of efficiency”.

He assigned the Committees to on daily basis consider the SAS conclusions in the course of planning of oversight or policy.

The Parliament took note of the SAS report.

The next plenary session will be held on October 3 at 12h00.