Government transparency has long been a rallying cry for Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s administration, but when it comes to public information about the state budget, that transparency can be hard to find.
All but 12 percent of Georgia’s 7.107 billion-lari ($3.98 billion) state budget for 2011, approved on December 17, comes from government revenues; the remaining 877.5 million lari (about $501 million) represents outside financing.
The largest budgetary outlay goes to the Ministry of Labor, Healthcare and Social Protection (1.604 billion or $916 million), the lowest to the Office of the State Minister for Reintegration Issues (1.7 million lari or $971,000).
But finding details in the 100-page document released to the public about the government’s biggest projects, however, can often prove a difficult or impossible task.
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Molly Corso is a freelance reporter based in Tbilisi.