(www.civil.ge) - President Saakashvili ordered Economy Minister Giorgi Arveladze to immediately close down the Georgian National Commission for Transport Regulation, which, as he put it, is a bureaucratic "leech."
"This commission exists like a parasite at the expense of others... This commission is fed with revenue that is paid by passengers... For example, USD 5 is paid for the transportation of each passenger, USD 100 for the arrival of each ship... This structure with a staff of 217 personnel in total is a leech," Saakashvili said while speaking with his ministers at a government session on February 21.
"The staff [of the commission] should leave their offices before 6 pm today. I order the Economy Ministry to close down this structure; redistribute the existing staff to other places to avoid unemployment for these people. From today, under my verbal order -which next week I hope will be backed by a law with the Parliament's decision - payment of additional sums by citizens to this structure should stop. Go to a shop [referring to Economy Minister Giorgi Arveladze] and buy a big lock and close down this structure. From now on I will close down all structures of this kind no matter who lobbies them in the Parliament. The only thing I am interesting in is to protect citizens from these kinds of things," Saakashvili said.
He said that the commission was set up after the Parliament passed "a totally corrupt" law.
"We have an absolutely healthy majority in the Parliament and it was really peculiar that this law was passed. This happened because all of us were engaged at that time with the constitutional amendments and with many other important laws and someone deemed it a proper time [to lobby this law]," Saakashvili said.
He said that the draft law canceling the National Commission for Transport Regulation is already developed and details have already been agreed with the Parliament.
Saakashvili also said that the government should look into the activities of other state regulatory commissions.