On December 25, President of the Republic of Abkhazia Raul Khadzhimba held a press conference concerning the results of the year.
During the press conference, among other questions, the President responded to a question about the development of relations with the Syrian Arab Republic:
“We do not sit idle, as we continue working on the issues that we have outlined earlier. While we were in Syria, we have discussed questions of the economy and finance. First of all, transport communication has to be improved which will open new economic possibilities”.
While responding to a question about the connection between the development of tourism and agriculture, the President remarked that it is necessary to provide tourists with locally produced organic products:
“If we truly want to have a large number of tourists, then we should provide them with locally produced organic products. Sometimes, the heads of tourist companies do not do that. This process should be accelerated, local brands should be created, and the state should support this.
The President was also asked a question about the issue of recycling of the household waste and creating landfills.
“For all these years, we have been trying to solve this issue. It is quite urgent, but we still have not been able to make fundamental changes. We have received enough equipment which takes out the waste and we also have received containers. The landfills which have been in use since the times of the Soviet Union are in critical condition. They are located in Gagra, Gudauta, Sukhum and Eastern Abkhazia. I do not think that it is possible at the moment to build factories that would solve this problem. Great sums of money are needed to build a similar factory. In Sochi, to build an environmentally friendly factory that burns the waste would cost 22 billion rubles. We have decided to choose another option, that is the construction of a new landfill and the start of waste compacting works. We have found opportunities that would allow us to buy such equipment next year and to bring compacted waste to the new landfill. Funds have been allocated to solve the issue of the Sukhum landfill. Work is being done to build access roads and an additional landfill”, - said the President.
In the course of the press conference, the President was also asked a question about the implementation of the Investment program of assistance to the socio-economic development of the Republic of Abkhazia.
According to the President, new buildings which are in the process of being constructed will be commissioned according to the stated deadlines. The President remarked that there are also shortcomings, such as the situation with the water pipes in the village of Chlou. The Prosecutor’s Office carried out preliminary examinations and will raise the issue of bringing those responsible to justice.
The draft of the next Investment program includes projects related to the road infrastructure, energy, water, sewer systems and social facilities.
During the press conference, the Head of State also summed up the main economic results of the year.
“On the whole, the year was not easy, and there were reasons for this. Compared to last year, foreign trade turnover in Abkhazia has grown by almost a billion and a half rubles. The imports increased by 177 million rubles, and the exports are worth more than 1 billion rubles. This indicates that the opportunities of Abkhazia are changing. However, there are also problems, such as the energy sector. We try to change the state of things in this area. A few days ago, we have opened the newly rebuilt “Sukhum-Hydroelectric power station”. Yet, this is not enough to solve the existing problems in this field. A lot of work remains to be done to rebuild the substations. There are people who are ready to start working on this. We have four substations that would really help our energy sector”.
In response to a question about tax reform, the President remarked that it is necessary to minimise the existing taxes. This work is ongoing.
The President was also asked a question about the salary growth of the public sector employees. The Head of State remarked that according to the agreements that have been signed between Abkhazia and Russia, the salary of most public sector employees will grow by 6.2%. The average salary will amount to 13-14 thousand rubles. According to the President, this will affect the educational, cultural, healthcare and other social spheres.